It's that time of year again: St. Patrick's Day! aka The Holiday of Coolness! aka My favorite day ever! (It also happens to be my birthday, but, honestly, that is almost an afterthought.)We are incredibly Irish around here and, let's face it, incredibly fun. So this holiday gets celebrated to the max year after year.
As is tradition on this website, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, here are some Irish things I love...
Traditional music, this year from the incomparable Cara Dillon. If you aren't familiar with her yet, go search her out. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
It's no secret I love Irish fiddle music. Anyone who has read Longing for Home or Hope Springs knows there's a special place in my heart for Irish fiddlers. This is, perhaps the best known Irish fiddle tune, "Irish Washerwoman," and I love how John Sheahan plays amazingly but has this "whatevs" look on his face. When you're as good as he is (seriously, go look him up as well) being amazing is an everyday thing.
The Irish are also pretty incredible in the modern music scene. They can rock, but they always do it with a bit of an Irish flare. These Dublin lads are pretty much my favorite group of all time. Here's my current favorite of their many fantastic songs, "Superheroes." (I often sing this to myself when I'm fighting an uphill battle and wondering if I have the strength to keep going, and I particularly feel the lines "She's got a lion in her heart, a fire in her soul..." Yes, I do!)
An Unconquerable Spirit
The Irish have faced innumerable hardships: political, social, and economic oppression, famines that decimated the population, religious-based disenfranchisement, deep-seeded and bitter prejudice. My kids know enough of the difficult history of Ireland that anytime they hear a song or a tale recounting an Irish battle or uprising, they immediately know the battle didn't end well for the Irish. Yet they keep going, and they keep trying, and they keep believing in something better to come.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, a short-lived and ultimately unsuccessful uprising in Dublin, one of many attempts over a difficult 800 years at claiming independence. This one, though it did not accomplish what it set out to do, was the impetus that would spark the Irish War for Independence, which would, after much bloodshed and suffering and violence, lead to the establishment of the Irish Republic, an independent and fully sovereign nation.
The many days of fighting that marked the Easter Rising resulted in a great deal of damage in the area of Dublin where it took place. To this day bullet holes can be seen in the pillars of the General Post Office. They were not, nor will they ever, be repaired. They stand as a reminder that freedom comes at great cost. As our guide at Kilmainham Gaol explained, "We know that we must never forget how hard won our freedom was. As soon as we begin to forget, we begin to lose what so many died to give us."
Irish Blessings I always close out my annual Holiday of Coolness post with this gem...