IRISH-AMERICANS, who celebrate St Patrick's Day with a frenzy of public drunkenness, dyed-green beer and leprechaun costumes, might be disappointed at how the Irish themselves mark the holiday. Most prefer to watch the parades on television rather than brave the changeable spring weather, perhaps hoisting an evening toast to Saint Paddy (never "Saint Patty", as it is often rendered in America). And they never put dye in their beer. Those in search of emerald ale must go abroad, as indeed nearly the entire cabinet does every year, fanning out to visit the global Irish diaspora. In no other country do the upper ranks of government mark the national holiday by flocking overseas.
The most high-profile ritual takes place in Washington, where the taoiseach (prime minister) presents America's president with a bowl of fresh shamrock. For the current taoiseach, Enda Kenny, this year's visit to the White House will be his sixth. It is likely to be his last. Facing a mutiny in his centre-right Fine Gael party last month, Mr Kenny said that after meeting Donald...The Economist: Europe