It’s a Great Day to be Irish

St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow, and Bryce was very excited to learn that on this holiday, everyone wears green, which is his favorite color. There is not a purple day or a pink day or a blue day, but every year, on March 17, we all are witness to a sea of green.

On this day, we are all Irish. We drink green beer, the Savannah River turns green as well as the fountain at our local university hotspot—Five Points.

While I do not know the specific village where all of our ancestors originated, I am happy to report that I now know that some of them began life in both Castlebar and Tipperary. Just four years ago, when I was hanging out with the mayor of Castlebar and the Irish Prime Minister and having my first Irish Coffee, I learned that the typical St. Paddy’s Day meal is bacon and cabbage, but you all know that by now.

We are having a sleepover tonight with the kiddies. Daddy tried to convince Kelly that we should serve Lucky Charms for breakfast in honor of the day, but she did not seem enthused with the idea, even though we all know of her love of that magically delicious cereal.

So I plan on visiting the library or bookstore to see if I can locate a book appropriate for the day which would interest a two year old as well as a five year old.  I will pull out my “Everyone Loves and Irish Girl” tee shirt and see what stories of the old country we can discuss in between rounds of hide ‘n seek and Candy Land. I will attempt to discuss Grandma Jean’s love of her Irish Roots.

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Éirinn go Brách

On March 17, everyone loves celebrating the Irish. They put on their green outfits , go to parades, and drink green beer. However, when I was younger, I recall some kids wearing red or orange because they were Italian. To me, intentionally ignoring a green shirt for the red was not being very friendly!

Grandma, as we all know, loves her Irish heritage. She had her wall of Irish plaques, and she would greet us that morning by saying, “Éirinn go Brách.” I am not certain if she knew what it meant (Ireland forever) or if she just knew it was an Irish expression.

We never had the American traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage because, well, Grandma did not like it. I believe the first time I had it was with Dad, who, like any good New York Jew, loves corned beef, particularly from a deli.

One of my high school classes went on a field trip to New York on St. Patrick’s Day to see the play Fiddler on the Roof.  I remember that our teacher let us wander around the city on our own, so I stopped by to see the parade with some friends. I don’t think today’s teachers would ever be permitted to let their students wander around New York on a school field trip unsupervised (or am I wrong?).

That was the closest I ever came to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on a grand scale until my trip to London in 2014 when I was hanging out with actual Irish citizens. We ate at Flannery’s Pub, where I had my first Irish coffee and the Irish St. Patrick’s Day meal of bacon and cabbage.

But this year will be a more somber day as we celebrate the life of Uncle Bob. We will have his funeral mass at the same church that some of our Irish-born ancestors worshipped—the church where they, and so many of us, celebrated baptisms, first communions, weddings, and other funerals. We will sit in this church and remember his smile and great big bear hugs. We will also smile and shed a few tears as we recall  all those other memories.