Mervyn Busteed
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St Patrick’s Day
Evolution of a celebration
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In Ireland, not only does St Patrick perform the role of patron saint, but the date claimed for his death, 17 March, also provides the Irish with their national day, celebrated in religious services and secular festivity. The public celebration of 17 March amongst the Irish in nineteenth-century Manchester followed a distinct trajectory from well-lubricated inclusive gatherings to increasingly respectable and carefully structured events with a notably Catholic and nationalist flavour performed before multiple audiences. This chapter examines the evolution of the Irish public festival, St Patrick's Day. In Manchester the public celebration of St Patrick's Day was a multi-dimensional festival which underwent significant changes of theme and emphasis. During the war celebrations were muted and from 1916 onwards the political tone became entirely absent, overwhelmed by simple relief and celebration at the end of the War of Independence.

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The Irish in Manchester c. 1750–1921

Resistance, adaptation and identity

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