We’re getting ready for Saint Patricks Day in these parts – here is one of our Letters from Ireland from last year (you can sign up for your very own Letter from Ireland here):
Céad Míle Failte from County Cork—and I hope you are keeping well on a lovely mild Sunday morning here in the south of Ireland. Spring has definitely arrived with the daffodils in full bloom and the wild garlic just about making an appearance by the side of the road. I do hope the weather is softening up nicely wherever you are! I’m having a cup of straight coffee this morning (no, not Irish coffee!)—and I hope you’ll join me now with a cup of whatever you’re having yourself.
What do the Great Wall of China, the Sydney Opera House, the great Pyramid in Egypt, the Niagara Falls and the London Eye all have in common? They are all, of course, world icons—but for one day this year, these and many other similar icons will turn green. For one full night in the year they will be bathed in green light. That day is Saint Patricks Day, a feast day of the Patron Saint of a tiny island on the edge of Europe with only about 6.5 million people living on her shores. I find that extraordinary! What do you think?
In Ireland, Saint Patrick’s Day was always a celebration of national pride and patriotism. When we were young, we were marched off to Mass with the shamrock cascading from our coats—pinned on with a harp badge or an Irish flag brooch. It was also a break day during Lent, you could knock back those forbidden sweets and chocolate with impunity, with Saint Patrick to thank for this special dispensation. It was Saint Patricks Day, a feast for the Irish, wherever they may be. What are the Saint Patrick’s Day traditions in your family?
Saint Patrick’s Day gives us all an opportunity to reflect and appreciate the Irish traditions within our family and community—an opportunity to stop and have a look in “Saint Patrick’s Mirror”—and mostly we like what we see. So, while it is wonderful to see all this green illumination on the wonders of the world—I just love to stop and ask people “What do you love most about Your Irish Heritage?” The replies are always so heartfelt and wonderful. I asked this question recently on our Facebook page and here are some of my favourite replies:
“I love that my ancestors had a strength that was amazing. They had the strength to survive the famine. They had the strength and the courage to make the trip across the seas. They had the fortitude to believe that they could make a new life in a foreign land. I so admire them and all the Irish that did the same.
I also admire those who stayed behind and fought to survive, theirs was a strength most people today can only imagine. I am honored to be Irish…we are a strong people.”
“Ireland is green and beautiful but being Irish is more than a place. After all we are everywhere and have made our mark on the world!”
“I’m an Australian and proud of it but have always felt a very strong connection to Ireland. I love the people, the music, the country etc. I look forward with hope to a trip back to my “homeland”.”
“Love of family, sense of humor; I could go on and on. Having a story that had a beginning, middle, and so far no ending in sight. I love being Irish.”
“Everything! But mostly the Irish spirit that resides within our DNA!!!! Amazing fortitude and knowing how to enjoy every minute!! Humor like no other nationality!!! ) PROUD.”
“That my mother had the courage and strength at age 19 to cross the Atlantic for a new life. and now I am finding the ones left behind…”
“Hospitality, wit, courage, determination and poetic creativity.”
“The realization that all of humanity is imperfect. The Irish just strive to make imperfection the most happy of times. The struggle, the fight, the drink and the happiness.”
“The spirit of rebellion that set us free and keeps us a force to be reckoned with.”
I’ve got to say, just reading all those again puts a smile on my face—how about you? Each sentence feels like a little warm green beacon of light. So, at this most Irish time of year, we wish you all a wonderful Saint Patrick’s Day—we are so delighted that you are part of our Irish heritage!
Slán, Mike and Carina.
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