Gong's Irish expats unite on St Patrick's Day

For many, gallons of Guinness and a green leafy shamrock might be all that's required to celebrate St Patrick's Day on Monday.

But for Wollongong Irish expat Julie O'Loughlin, the day is about surrounding herself with enough friends to help keep the homesickness at bay.

She said she, and fellow Irish expats Michael Connelly and George Kerrigan, would be missing their families back home.

"It makes me homesick for the whole day," Ms O'Loughlin said.

"I'm just not satisfied whatever I do that day - it's just not the same as home.

"We're going to be missing our families because they'll be toasting to us that's not there and we're going to be over here."

With little other option, Ms O'Loughlin, who will be working behind the bar at Dicey Riley's in Wollongong, said she would try to make the most of the day and encouraged everyone, no matter what their nationality, to join in.

"Any nationality - it doesn't matter where you're from, just come and celebrate St Patrick's Day," she said.

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Ms O'Loughlin said the often-heard, but seldom understood, word "craic" had a lot to do with the celebrations.

"It's like elaborating on fun ... It's better than fun, higher than fun," she said.

Mr Kerrigan said when it came to St Patrick's Day, Australians generally knew how to join in the festivities.

"The Aussies really get into the spirit of it - they're like us," he said.

"They enjoy having fun at a family-oriented day."

Dicey Riley's will be hosting special St Patrick's Day events including live music.

How are you celebrating St Patrick's Day? Send us your photos via Facebook, the Mercury's iPhone app or to cos@illawarramercury.com.au.

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