It’s ST PATRICK’S DAY! An ungodly time ago, Saint Patrick–either on purpose or because he got lost–ended up in Ireland whereupon he drove the snakes out…to the Irish fishing isle of Aran. Snakes, meaning, the devil–or, in this case, heathens. And now, in true Irish form we drink ourselves silly.
Don’t get me wrong. Like most Irishmen (and women), I am inordinately proud of being Irish. We have a rich history of storytelling and music, and believe in our very blood and bones that we are pretty damned awesome (I mean, have you seen Colin Ferrell, Maggie Smith, and Michael Gambon in action? Not to mention Gabriel Bryne and Stuart Townsend?).
And anyone who’s read more than two words of this blog, or anything else I’ve written (ever), can cotton on to the fact I’ve got the green flowing in my veins…but don’t worry, it’s not catching. 🙂
A magical thing happens every Saint Patrick’s Day. Not because I neccessarily celebrate the day specifically–I celebrate my Irish heritage every day as it is, by writing and persuing my musical studies for the sheer glory of music itself. No, I celebrate St. Patty’s by buying Guinness on sale in the special arated cans (so it tastes like it does from the tap), a bottle of Jameson’s, and cook. Really, REALLY cook.
So today, Sunday, I’m making lamb stew, homemade soda bread without a recipe (don’t be impressed–it’s super easy to make), steamed mussels with a cream-sherry sauce (my personal favorite), and play Irish music with more than its fair share of fiddle. The D.S. does, oh, 95% of the cooking in our house because this is his creative outlet and he used to own a restaurant, but there are couple of times a year I invade his domain and go CRAZY. This is one of them.
(The Tech Monkey then turns into the dad from Christmas Story at the prospect of turkey…he can’t keep out of it before it’s done.)
I love being Irish. Not because it’s cool to be (at least once a year when everyone apparently is). But because, even after Saint Patrick arrived to drive out the snakes, they kept a stranglehold on their heritiage and refused to be bought by fear–while all the while trying to understand another culture’s point of view. This is why they have survived, with their voices and traditions in tact. They were the first to have female saints, and were one of the few cultures to not worship a god or gods.
Instead they venerated champions of great deeds, storytellers and musicians, and craftsmen of all crafts. Women were chieftains and warriors on level with men, because every fighter was needed against all who came to invade this tiny, tiny island the size and population of, roughly, Ohio. And those cultures enriched the Irish in the end, because they couldn’t be beaten. Not by war. Not by sickness or starvation or–once they reached America–discrimination. Not by anything.
There is something magical–special–about being Irish. The music and the storytelling is within me, and it couldn’t make me prouder.
So Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone. Be safe, be merry–and let your Irish light–whether by blood or inclincation–shine bright.