Welcome one and all! I don't think I get to tell you as often as I should, how much I love Ireland and what it has "produced" along time. Tomorrow proud ginger Irish people celebrate St. Patrick's Day all over the world. Even in Chicago the river turns green and leprechauns can be seen - of course fake ones, so don't go running after any pot of gold ;) The first St. Paddy Day was celebrated in 1756 in NYC at the Crown & Thistle Tavern. In case you did not know, it was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century. This feast day us kept by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Lutheran Church as well! It is the day that remembers the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, through Saint Patrick himself! It's a celebration deeply rooted in the heritage and culture of Irish people (and not only!). Nowdays it is rather popular for big cities to host parties on the 17th of March, for St. Paddy's, and have an Irish theme about it. I remember going to such parties in my hometown, in Iasi - Romania. People would have Irish beer (like Guinness or Kilkenny) or Irish whiskey, dress up in green, sport a 4 leaf clover and listen to some good old Irish tunes.
It is said that the shamrock, the clover, as a symbol of Ireland, came from the times of good old Saint Paddy. It is said that when he came to bring the fairy in Ireland he explained the Holy Trinity by using a 3 leaf clover - The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost. It is also said that since Saint Paddy stepped in Ireland the country was "cured" from snakes and there are no more of them - I wonder if that still indeed is true... I still have Ireland on my #bucketlist even though I came very close a couple of times... But why should you celebrate Saint Patrick's Day?! Why I would celebrate it for this fine country alone! I celebrate it because I've always had a crush on Ireland, ever since I was a wee lass. But then... why love Ireland? Because...
1) It has the most amazing music, played from the soul, with all of their heart. They pour forward their sorrows, mix them with grief and elevate them to dark humor and pure laughter. But they don't just leave it to that, they have the most amazing dances I have seen... I remember being small and watching for the first time Michael Flatley work his magical feet onto the floor. It seemed to me as if the ground he was walking was of fire! The way that Irish people tell stories through music is just unearthly and totally eary. Also... should I even try mentioning the most amazing band still running... that's right! U2!
2) History alone would recommend Ireland! Some countries boast of being old and filled with history lessons, but Ireland has that even before 8.000 BC!
3) The stories, ghost, ghouls, fairies, leprechauns and all the mystical creatures that are roaming about Ireland... I will always believe that pixies and fairies are real, no matter what everyone says! And for sure when I'll see a leprechaun I'll try to be swift and catch it so he can take me to his pot of gold, at the end of the rainbow ;)
4) Horses as a symbol - that's right! Horses are a symbol of Ireland, wild and beautiful. They are a national treasure and they are cherished. Even in famine times people did not want to eat horse meat, considering it too precious. Maybe for the Irish is indeed safe to say that the horse is their best friend :) and such magnificent creatures they are!
5) Free national museums and galleries - enough said! They had me at "museum"... everyone who knows me knows that I love a good museum and it seems Ireland has quite a few nice ones to offer.
6) The spirits... as in the alcohol... as in the wonderfully one of a kind beer like the dark Guinness or the "Red haired" Kilkenny. Pure love for smooth and silky taste - that's Ireland alright!
7) Eurovision record... they took it home 7 times! But I think the real winner behind this is the amazing Riverdance (first performance in the 1994 contest). Long may the magical Michael Flatley live!
BONUS: The Book of Kells (held in Dublin). If you have no clue what that is but you love beautiful things, if you love art and design and history... well this baby is a must! There is even an animation about it, so beautifully done it will break your heart. Just so you know... in 2009 the animation The Secret of Kells was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It tells a fictional story about three creation of The Book by an old monk and his apprentice Brendan.
How about you lads and lasses, will you be celebrating tomorrow St. Patrick's Day? Will you be dressing up in green or have a clover with you? Will you tap dance? Any plans on visiting Ireland soon? I find it, through pictures and movies, the greenest place on earth. Have you ever been there? I would love to hear your stories in relation to this celebration.
Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Ireland