My Irish descendants set sail for America in 1811. If I had known that more than just a few years ago, I might own a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” T-Shirt along with the rest of the proud Irish Americans. Unfortunately, the celebration of my Irish heritage goes about as far as the Lucky Charms I had for breakfast this morning-true story. I honestly forgot to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day last year! This year, however, I’ll celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the way it should be done. My book club happens to be meeting on March 17th. Our hostess is making corned beef, Irish soda bread, potatoes, and veggies. I’ve signed up for dessert and although I’m undecided on what to make, the list of ingredients will likely include Bailey’s. We even read Frank McCourt’s “Angela’s Ashes” to keep with the Irish theme. No, we didn’t, but the rest of it is true! The only thing Irish about our book is that you can buy it in Ireland-along with anywhere else in the world. Ah well…, it will still be an excellent celebration.
Out of curiosity, I did some research to learn more about Saint Patrick. As it turns out, facts about his life vary depending upon the source. There are some pieces most scholars accept to be true, though. According to Coilin Owens, Irish literature expert at George Mason University, Saint Patrick lived between 432-461 A.D. At 16, he was kidnapped from the Roman British Isles and sold into slavery in Ireland. Saint Patrick turned to religion for solace and after six years he escaped. While back in his homeland, Patrick decided to become a priest and then decided to return to Ireland after dreaming that the Irish people were calling him to convert them to Christianity. He traveled back to Ireland as a Christian missionary and his mission in Ireland is said to have lasted for thirty years. Patrick died in the 5th century on March 17th–The day we continue to celebrate this patron saint of Ireland with jovial parades, Irish festivals, and all things green-even the beer… An American addition, of course.
Why not extend the celebration? March 5th–14th is Seachtain na Gaeilge, an international celebration of the Irish language. I’ll celebrate by attempting to use a few new phrases: Tá tinneas cinn orm (I have a headache) and An bhfuil spúnóg agat? (Do you have a spoon?) I didn’t say they were necessarily useful phrases. Perhaps I’ll watch a movie or two with some of the worst fake Irish accents out there-think Julia Roberts in “Mary Reilly” or Tom Cruise in “Far and Away”. Sadly, they’re much better than any attempt I could make! Whatever the celebration includes, I’ll put more effort into St. Patrick’s Day than in years past. I may even have to buy a new T-Shirt for the occasion… “Kiss me, I’m Irish!”
***Thank you Jennifer. The Irish Life Experience appreciates you and looks forward to more of your posts.***