Anna Nolan: Eating ice-cream and crisps on your dad's shoulders? That's Paddy's Day
I walked around Merrion Square in Dublin last Friday. The usual peace and quiet at 6pm was replaced with workmen and women assembling amusements.
A helter skelter, a ghost train and a roundabout. Very old skool! It was the preparation for the St Patrick's Day Festival.
What was once a one day event, is now a wonderful week of celebrating Irish culture, through music, theatre and outdoor events.
As I strolled around I started thinking back. I remember so well the excitement we would feel as children when St Patrick's Day arrived.
After mass in Rialto, our dad would take us all into town. We'd have our new outfits, and our big bright badges of a gold harp and the tricolour underneath. Dad would just have the clump of shamrock. I always thought how boring this was compared to my gold harp.
We'd walk down Cork Street, by the Liberties, and plonk ourselves by the barrier around Aungier Street.
As the build-up to the parade would become more intense, Dad would take turns at having us on his shoulders.
Then the floats would come. ATT security, blaring out the name of the company in between the music. The marching bands from the States, whose dream of coming to the Emerald Isle was only dampened somewhat with the March Irish weather.
There would be an ice cream or a packet of Tayto for us all as we cheered each float and then we'd all walk home to Dolphin Road.
Dad of course has a different memory of the parade. He would be frozen from the cold. He remembers the rain pouring down his face, as he stood in the lashing rain, with child after child on his shoulders. But being the ever-loving parent, he would do it all again the following year.
I've had some fun St Patrick's Day celebrations in London, Edinburgh and more recently in Fuerteventura. The Irish bar on the Canary Island in Corralejo is one of the best I've been to.
Some years ago myself and my sister were there on March 17 and the in-house band "Larry and Barry" kept the Irish, and English, crowd very happy.
There's something a little raucous when Irish people are away on this date and singing their patriotic tunes.
One end of the bar was filled with a gang of older Irish women and they were enjoying themselves loudly. Maybe it was the way they were shouting "Lowwwwwww Liiiiiiiie the Fields of Athenryyyyyyy" or maybe it was the intense Irish pride, but the Irish in the bar that night were a hard bunch to miss.
I'm in Newcastle-upon-Tyne today for St Patrick's Day this year. It should be easy enough to find an Irish bar and I shall toast the country of saints and sinners.
Back in Ireland, I hope everyone has an enjoyable day and, remember, don't overdo the Guinness!
Famous for being famous? Well the whole world keeps up with Kim now
Famous for being famous. It's a term that gets thrown about for certain stars, usually reality stars.
And the person who it's been most attached to in recent years is Kim Kardashian. Yet there she was recently, with the crème de la crème of Paris fashion week, rubbing shoulders with Anna Wintour, attending the top designers' parties and getting papped to within an inch of her life.
The French don't just celebrate any celebrity. Kim Kardashian is a modern day phenomenon who has gone from stylist to superstar.
A day doesn't go by without some picture of her face leaving a hotel or baby North looking stunned as a photographer shoves a lens in her face. But it's not always the photographer's fault - Kim Kardashian doesn't mind parading baby North at a fashion show either (where the baby will bawl her way through the event).
Three years ago, Kim was great gossip. Today, after marrying the most famous rapper in the world, she is now a global celeb. How did that happen?
Its an interesting question for me, because I am one of those popular culture vultures who hoovers up the stories of the bold and the beautiful.
I became a fan of Keeping Up with the Kardashians during the first series back in 2007. The outspoken children Kim, Khloe and Kourtney, mentored by their 'momager' Kris Jenner, brought a bit of Hollywood glamour into our lives.
Add to that their Armenian sensibility - huge family loyalty, a strong work ethic - and throw in some producers who knew to start each show with a problem, and you had a perfect mix. You'd see the family go through fear and jeopardy only for it all to be resolved at the end with hugs and kisses.
Fast forward to a few days ago and Kim leaves a Paris hotel with hubby Kanye West by her side. Cue stories were all over the internet about her new platinum-coloured hair.
Kim Kardashian's initial 15 minutes of fame have well and truly gone. And yet her popularity is growing. Famous for being famous? Maybe, but she's laughing all the way to the bank.
Fingers crossed for Murrayfield magic
I'm making my way to Edinburgh this week to watch Ireland play Scotland in Murrayfield.
I thought I'd be making the trip on a high this weekend, but then it all went a bit pear-shaped in Cardiff, just look at Rob Kearney's face (left).
It was quite depressing to see an Irish team play so badly but Wales were impressive and we were beaten fair and square by Sam Warburton (inset) and Co.
And so the outcome of the Six Nations all depends on us winning (and winning very big) in Murraryfield.
It's always the worst way to win a tournament to my mind - by having to rely on other teams' results. But fingers crossed!
No wonder it's such a massive hit
I've never seen Riverdance. I was in the UK when it took off in Ireland and then by the time I came back to Ireland it was making its way around the world.
So when I saw that Lord of the Dance was on telly last Sunday, I just had a little look. to catch up on things. All was going fine and dandy for the first 30 minutes, the full-on Irish dancing-inspired stuff you'd expect. Then it went all Bucks Fizz. The women dancers took off their dresses and danced in their knickers and bras! It was weird.
I don't know how the audience took it but I was looking at this thinking 'has Michael Flatley lost his marbles?' Anyhow, it all ended up fine. The women put their clothes back on and they all danced through the finale. Weird and strange - maybe that's how Michael (inset) likes it!