Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Today is Saint Patrick's Day, a day for acknowledging and celebrating one's Irish heritage. I am a fourth generation Irish American whose ancestors immigrated to America prior to the potato famine.  

I used to think that being Irish was all about the fun and vibrancy of wearing green, chasing imaginary leprechauns to their pots of gold, and picturing oneself watching the sun set on Galway Bay.  

During my childhood and teenage years, I remember listening to albums by: 
  • The Irish Minstrels  [sorry, no video available]
  • John Gary 

  • The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem (get your hankies ready when you watch The Band Played Waltzing Matilda)

  • Paddy Reilly


  • The Wolfe Tones

Celtic Symphony will always be one of the best parts of several Saint Patrick's Days growing up.  My cousins and aunts and uncles even built and entered family floats in dozens of Saint Patrick's Day parades, again singing songs of patriotism, rebellion, and drinking.  And Celtic Symphony countless times.


In high school, I became enamoured with William Butler Yeats' poetry.  I dream of going to visit Innisfree and his gravesite at Benbulben some day.  

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now and go to Innisfree
A small cabin build there of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee, 
And live alone in the bee loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings, 
There midnight's all aglimmer and noon a purple glow, 
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore,
While I stand on the roadway or on the pavement grey, 
I hear it in the deep heart's core. 

And, of course, I became one of the biggest fans of U2.  In fact, I've liked them longer than Edge has been wearing a hat!  That's a very long time!


In the mid-1980's, my hometown of Shawnee, Kansas and my dad, who was a councilman there at that time, established a sister city with Listowel in County Kerry.  Over the years, I have been lucky enough to meet some wonderful people from there and develop friendships with them.  What a beautiful town in a beautiful part of a beautiful country.  Can you tell that I kind of like Ireland?  The picture below is of Christy's pub owned by none other than Mr. Christy Walsh. 

Green has been my favourite colour for ages.  Now I love purple almost as much as I love green, thanks to my beloved lavender.  Yet, as the old adage goes, a true Irish person can see forty shades of green.  Or is that Johnny Cash?  


I was lucky enough to travel to Ireland way back in 1989 while I was studying abroad.  Unfortunately, I haven't been back since but I want to go so badly, especially when I reminisce like I am doing now.  Until then, I will ensconce myself in Irish colour and culture whenever I can.  

Along these lines, check out this article!  You'll be glad you did!

I will leave you with one of my favorite passages of Yeats.  


I hope you've had a wonderful Saint Patrick's Day!  


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