Notes from West London

Where to get shamrock in Central London

Happy St Patrick’s Day to you.

Until around twenty years ago there seemed to be plenty of places to get shamrock on St Patrick’s Day. In our part of West London there were a few Irish butchers that would always have a decent supply of the green stuff, along with their regular stocks of Barry’s Tea, Kimberley Biscuits and Tayto crisps. But those butchers are long gone, replaced by phone shops and coffee shops.

For the last few years my only dependable source of “Trifolium pratense” has been at St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Soho Square. They bless sprigs of it and give it out at the end of mass, which today was much longer (nearly an hour) than the usual weekday masses. This information may be a bit late for St Patrick’s Day 2016 but if you want to wear a sprig next year there’s usually a vigil mass on 16 March. This year it was presided over by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, Emeritus Archbishop of Westminster, at 6pm. And on the day itself (17 March) masses are at 8am, 12.45pm and 6pm. Unless I find an alternative source, or find myself in another part of the world, I’m planning to get my shamrock there again in 2017.

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