19 July 2010

Stony Grey Soil of Basra

“Why did the New York Monaghan Association choose not to carry their banner during the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2003?” This was a question asked during a table quiz in Co. Monaghan lately. Nobody knew the answer, not at my table anyway. And no amount of guessing would have brought us close.

It was because there was a map of Monaghan on the banner and people were mistaking it for Iraq.

Separated at birth? Iraq and Monaghan.

Association member John McKenna explained the problem to a news website: "It came as quite a surprise to us that Monaghan and Iraq had basically the same outline shape. We had been receiving some jeers and comments as we assembled for the parade in New York and we couldn't understand why. Until someone from the Louth Association pointed out the similarity. So for the sake of being able to walk 5th Avenue in peace, we had to carry a simple blue and white banner instead or our ornate traditional banner."