Luck of the Irish

St Patrick’s Day is being celebrated by Western Australians today in smaller numbers than previous years, amid new COVID-19 restrictions from the state government. 

On March 3, WA Premier Mark McGowan introduced new capacity limits for hospitality venues, enforcing seated service and a patron limit of 150 with the 2sqm rule. 

Established in 1950, the Irish Club of Western Australia hosts St Patrick’s Day festivities at its Subiaco venue annually. 

Club president Alan O’Meara says despite capacity limits and some staff members contracting COVID, the celebrations will proceed due to the public’s diligence in following protocols. 

“People have been very acceptive of masks and now very acceptive of the COVID vaccine certificates, showing those,” he says. 

The club, which typically hosts 400 patrons without COVID-19 restrictions, is pushing ahead today with capped-capacity celebrations including an “Irish Breakfast”, as well as live band performances. 

Attendance at the breakfast was unusually low but the club was expecting to reach its capacity of 150 later today.

In the heart of Perth’s CBD, Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub hosted festivities for patrons adorned in the national Irish colours, with flowing pints and Irish tunes. 

Durty Nelly’s patrons enjoying a pint in the sunshine. Photo: Mya Kordic.

Durty Nelly‘s staff representative Andrea Rooney says the pub has opened its venue to outdoor seating this St Patrick’s Day, in an effort to host as many patrons as possible. 

“Obviously it’s very hard with restricted numbers… but it will be fine, we’ll still have a good spirit and good attitude and I think that’s the most important thing,” she says. 

Ms Rooney believes her venue’s clients will not be deterred from public celebrations, despite the state’s spike in COVID-19 case numbers. 

“I don’t think it’s driving anyone away from celebration. People are still going to come out and it’s so important to the Irish people.”

Andrea Rooney

Mr O’Meara believes the continuation of Irish tradition and heritage is an important part of why Western Australian’s connection to the international holiday remains strong. 

“There is a very big percentage of Western Australians, I think over 600,000, who have some Irish connection and that can be handed down from grandparents and parents,” he says. 

As club president, Mr O’Meara says he takes pride in supporting the Irish community and club through his leadership role, especially on St Patrick’s Day. 

“It’s significant in terms of getting the Irish people together and keeping up their old friendships and creating new friendships,” he says. 

Perth venues like Dirty Nelly’s have been laden in green, orange and white for the international holiday. Photo: Mya Kordic.

Ms Rooney says the resilience of the Irish and their positive outlook is essential during the COVID-19 era. 

“We always try to keep a smile and have good spirits, good optimism and just be merry,” she says. 

Categories: COVID-19, General

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