On St Patrick’s day 1966 I was working on a Norwegian cruise ship – Bergensfjord- . We were travelling down the West coast of South America about halfway through a South Pacific and South America cruise. The cruise staff (kind of redcoats) always made the most of any notable dates. Since most of the passengers were American and several of them claimed Irish descent the boat was decked in green bunting, the bar staff mixed special “Irish cocktails” and the cruise staff produced a concert with a definite Irish flavour.

My friend S was asked if we knew any Irish dances and she (who never admitted defeat) replied, “Yes. Of course” and then hot tailed it down to me. Luckily I had done some national dancing in my dancing years, so I dredged one up out of my memory. I had about a week to teach her. We bought green material in Valparaiso and made simple costumes, and then practised whenever we had a chance until we could manage a passable version. Fortunately no one else on the boat really knew what it should look like, so we got away with it.

The advantage of taking part in one of the concerts was that we could spend the rest of the evening in the ballroom with the passengers which made a welcome change from our cabins  or the crew mess hall.

The evening was a lot of fun and culminated with a joyful parade led by one of the passengers, who had been a professional trumpet player, playing  ” McNamara’s band.”

The rather sour chief stewardess obviously thought S and I were getting too much attention, and was on her way over to us with a look on her face that said, “You have been here long enough” but was headed of by our lovely Captain who asked me to join with him on the end of the parade, now trying to do the Irish Jig!

It was a lovely happy evening, but I don’t think it endeared me to the chief stewardess.

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