St Patrick’s Day celebrations in the Valley

Celebrate: Irish native Steven Murphy enjoying an pint of Guinness.



FLANAGAN’S Irish Bar lit up green last Friday, as locals came from across the Valley to celebrate another St Patrick’s Day.

All things Irish were on display as shamrocks garnished the room, the Guinness flowed and Celtic tunes were sung.

Historically, St Patrick’s Day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. However, as the Irish immigrated elsewhere it became a celebration of Irish culture. The Irish flocked to Victoria in huge numbers. From 1854 to World War I, they were the second largest immigration group behind the English. By 1871 more than one in every four Victorians had been born in Ireland. Internationally, St Patrick’s Day has lived on through these expats to reconnect them to the Emerald Isle.

For Sue Van Sambeek and Kevin Wilburn, they celebrated a little more than Saint Pat. It could’ve been the luck of the Irish or the strong beer that made the pair fall in love at Flanagan’s bar on St Patrick ‘s Day five years ago. Now, the couple visits Flanigan’s every year on this date to celebrate their anniversary.

Irish-born Steven Murphy who came to Australia in 1965, loves St Patrick’s Day as it is a get-together of all things Irish. Mr Murphy wrote a poem for the special occasion:

On the 17th of March in a Gippsland town

There is a venue of renown

Where people come from near and far

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day at Flanagan’s Bar

They come from Moe, Morwell and Yinnar

To share a drink at Flanagan’s Bar

Come along and have a jar

Everyone’s welcome at Flanagan’s Bar

So to this wonderful venue, this Celtic bar

I raise my glass and say ‘Slanj-a-va’

Pronounced ‘slanj-a-va’ but actually spelt ‘slàinte mhath’ is how the Irish cheers.

Despite, its religious origins, St Patrick’s day now celebrates Irish culture globally (usually involving a drink or a maybe a few).

Celebrate: Irish native Steven Murphy enjoying an pint of Guinness.

Festivities: Flanagan’s staff Kate Neave and Joe Stewart commemorating St Patrick’s Day.