Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

The Irish soul is partially mine, and I believe of any of the influences of my character, the Irish part leads.  Of any of the Irish Ballads, this one may explain the Irish character best.

Dark humor abounds in the Irish heart.

I have  mixed emotions re: St. Patrick's Day.  My family is very proud of our Irish heritage, though we have been in the United States since the first migration waves of the 17th-18th centuries, which was largely Irish protestants.  I am also not too keen on celebrating the man who 'drove the snakes out of Ireland'  which means he actually drove the indigenous people's religion out of the land. 

But all of the world's Irish diaspora is proud of coming from the harsh and green fertile land surrounded by cold sea, dank and dark, and small.  The history is longer than it is written, and it hangs in all our hearts with a pride of survivalists of a homeland under almost constant seige since the time of the Vikings.

So regardless of religion, regardless of red hair, blond or black, Protestant, Catholic or Pagan, where we live in the world or how we got there, by religious persecution or famine or an eye on prosperity to be had elsewhere, we are Irish through and through.   St. Patrick's Day is our day to celebrate the land which gave birth to our grandfathers and grandmothers, and therefore ourselves.

In the words of Edna O'Brien:

When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious.

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