Tag Archives: St. PAtrick’s Day

The Wearing O’the Green. #HappyStPatricksDay #kissmeImIrish

It’s no secret I’m almost 100% Irish extraction. I didn’t need to spit in the Ancestry.com cup to know that. I did anyway and the results came back 98% Irish with 2% some obscure Middle European.

I’m disregarding that 2% because, really, why bother?

So, like I said, it’s no secret I’m of Irish extraction. When I was a kid people would tell my mother I had the map of Ireland stamped on my face. By that they meant my pale skin, dark hair, light eyes and plethora of facial freckles denoted I was a member of the Old Sod. I still have that pale skin and light eyes. The hair went gray at 16 so it’s been many shades since I was a kid, settling on some kind of ashy blonde mix right now. And for years I tried to bleach the hated freckles away with Porcelana fade cream. ( I have since stopped doing that, having embraced my freckles and heritage a while back).

I love my Irish roots. Truly. While I may not crave corned beef and cabbage ( ick) and I don’t drink beer ( hate the taste), I am a stalwart Daughter of Erin. I even marched in the NY City St. Patrick’s Day parade for years while I was in college. This is a of shot me at the parade holding my school banner when I was a senior.

The picture is grainy because I had to copy it from my yearbook, but I’m the second one in from the left with the glasses, short curly hair ( I was still dying it black back then), and total glee on my face despite the fact it was 34 degrees that day and raining non-stop.

There’s a saying that everyone is Irish on St. Paddy’s day. If you’re lucky enough to really have some Irish in your DNA, then yay! Welcome to the club. If not, then take advantage of this great day and become an honorary member. If you want to know the history behind the celebration of St. Patrick, do a Google search and find out why he was made a Saint and the reason Irishman are so keen on celebrating him.

For me, I’m gonna go make a couple of loaves of Irish soda bread and put on something with a bit’o green in it.

Happy St. Patricks Day ~ Peg

Looking for me? When I’m not celebrating the special days of Irish Saints, I’m usually here:

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Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

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Wearin’ a bit’o the green

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all my Irish and Irish-wannabe friends!

stpats

There are so many memories instilled in my mind about this day, I could fill several books – cooking and romance!

The warm, sweet smell of the Irish soda bread my grandmother taught me to make, and that I still make only on this day each year using her ancient, family recipe. The squishy feel of the dough between my fingers as I kneaded it into a round loaf shape; waiting anxiously as a kid for it to rise; adding the currants ( never raisins!) and then setting the timer because it had to bake for the exact time or it wouldn’t be perfect.

The years I marched in the NYC St. Paddy’s day parade as a Bellevue Nursing student. I proudly carried the banner from our school, never minding in the least the cold, wet, rainy weather or the hordes of drunken spectators cheering us – drunkenly! – as we marched in the streets.

The hours spent in bars after the parade, dancing, drinking, and cavorting with NYC’s finest firefighters and cops – who also marched in the parade.

The not-so-fond memories I have of eating boiled corn beef and cabbage. To this day I can’t make it in my own home because I gag from the smell. My grandmother would tell me I was a disgrace to my ancestors when I refused to eat it – but I swore I’d rather be a disgrace than spend the night barfing, any day! I’m still searching for a  recipe that won’t make me ill at just the thought of cooking it.

The very first time I ever visited Ireland and fell in total and everlasting love with the people, the countryside, and the B&Bs. Friendship and camaraderie greeted us – total strangers- everywhere we roamed, and by the time we left a pub after dinner each night, we felt like old friends of the patrons.

The legend of St. Patrick is a tale every little genetically linked Irish kid knows, so I won’t bore you with it. Suffice it to say the man is  probably more well known for a day devoted to revelry and drinking spirits than to his actual saintly occupation.

So, on this happy day  – which happens to be my lovely mother in law’s birthday a well – I’ll leave you with two of my favorite Irish blessings:

irishbelssing

irish-blessing-chickabug

 

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Was St. Patrick a storyteller?

March 17th is a date most people simply love. Not only is it my beloved mother-in-law’s birthday, but it’s the day we celebrate St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Every person of every color, heritage and faith, likes to be Irish on this day. You get to drink, party, wear green ( which flatters almost every color of skin on the plant) and be joyous. Most of you know the story behind St. Patrick, and although history is pretty certain he wasn’t born in Ireland, he did make it his mission to convert the Irish to Christianity. And while he can’t claim Ireland as his heritage, most Irish people forget about that and simple call him one of their own.

I wasn’t born in Ireland either, but that doesn’t make me one drop less Irish to the core. My maternal grandmother came off the boat at 13 and when she died almost 70 years later, her brogue was still thick, lilting and utterly charming to listen to. As a child, I was enthralled with hearing  her tell stories of her youth, raised on a  pig farm in Galway. With 13 siblings, food was scare and times were arduous. She emigrated to our shores and often told the story of how she felt the first time she laid eyes on Lady  Liberty. Her clear, crystal blue eyes would glaze over with unshed tears, and she’d put a hand over her tripping heart, remembering for the first time the sense of utter freedom, shear terror at being away from home and all that was familiar, and the knowledge that anything was now possible for her struck home.

Over the years, I was lucky to meet a few of her siblings who managed to get to America. Listening to each of them tell tales similar to my  grandmother’s stories of their youth, the one thing that stuck with me – aside from the feeling of warm coziness I got listening to the pitch and roll in their voices – was the sense they were true storytellers in the purest form. Their gift of gab, of turning a phrase, and evoking every emotion they could was supreme, and I wonder if this talent for telling a tale has been filtered down to me.

People used to describe my face as “having the map of Ireland all over it.” Pale, translucent skin that holds a chaos of freckles, light eyes and (naturally) black hair that has since gone bottle blond to hide the white, I know I look like my heritage. I am one of those American/Irish lasses. I can mimic a wicked brogue, enough so that even my grandmother used to get misty eyed when I did it for her. The Irish have a long history of being gifted writers, songstresses, and poets. They tend to wear their hearts on their writing paper and share their emotions in the way they turn a phrase. I really do think my love of story telling has some seeds in genetics.

I am of Irish blood, therefore, I write.

Not very deep and esoteric, but hey, this is me here.

The list of Irish writers is long and recognizable. They tell tales of the struggles of their faith, their land, and their freedom. They fill you with a sense of pride at all they accomplished, and righteous indignation with their turmoils under British rule. They write of love, loss and longing with words that make you weep and wail.

And laugh. Any Irish writer can bring a smile to your face and a laugh to your voice when they tell a bawdy tale or two. Or three….

So, on this wonderful and joyous day, drink responsibly, wear something with a bit o’the green in it, and if you see someone wearing a button that states “kiss me, I’m Irish!”, do it!

I’ll leave with a few lines of my favorite Irish blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

God Bless.

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