Swift 350, Gulliver, and St Patrick’s Day
There’s a sense of exhaustion around the school, all because SOMEBODY suggested that as part of the rolling celebrations of Jonathan Swift’s 350th birthday, our St Patrick’s Day float should consist of a giant “Gulliver” – strapped down and surrounded by Lilliputians. Yes, SOME PARENT thought this would be appropriate for a St Patrick’s Day parade, the PTA ran with it, and a gargantuan (Brobdingnagian?) effort has thereby been imposed upon a great many people.
The overall theme of the town parade is “Purple and Gold”, signifying the town’s recent award of a purple flag for services to tourism and a gold star “Tidy Town” award. So, all the children are to wear purple Lilliputian cloaks and when Gulliver arrives at the podium of civic worthies, we’ll be introduced as a delegation to Tidy Town from Tiny Town, along with their biggest tourist attraction, Gulliver the Man Mountain. At this point, Gulliver will rear up threateningly and the children will shout
while threatening giant Gulliver with crudely fashioned bows. I crudely fashioned them myself, as it happens. Gulliver will then become supine again and the parade can continue. We are a little worried about braking. Gulliver is on a trolley, and the final approach to the podium of worthies consists of a steep descent from the top of the railway bridge. I can imagine future historians writing “The 2017 North Kildare By-Election took place in the strangest of circumstances…”
I’ve been a bit quiet about these plans, because after all this work, I don’t want some other town to suddenly steal the idea – especially not nearby Celbridge – which has a real connection with Jonathan Swift that we don’t have. We are Blefuscu to their Lilliput in reality. But the parade start time is in just a few hours now, and I’m thinking that they really don’t have time to whip up a rival Gulliver in the time remaining. Best of all, our parade is a few hours before theirs. However, I will not rob our Gulliver of its surprise value by posting any image of him. Yet.
Already people are wondering about Gulliver’s afterlife. It turns out that Gulliver is not just for St Patrick’s Day – he’s for life. Storage concerns, and worries that his huge frame will attract vermin echo those Lilliputians who fretted about what to do about Gulliver’s rotting corpse after his (projected death). My own view is that a giant should be retained for the school for all subsequent parades.
Next year is the centenary of the celebrated 1918 election in which women voted, and stood as candidates, for the first time. Following some corrective surgery, Gulliver could become Constance Markievicz, rearing up and voting for herself.
But I’ve said too much.