Friday, March 17, 2006

Erin go Bragh

Well, the corned beef is simmering in the pot, and in a little while the potatoes and the cabbage will go in with it.

I love St. Patrick's day. Most of my friends know my Irishness is important to me. My wife is much more of a mutt than I, with a small streak of Irish in her, but she puts up with my fixation. And yet there is something visceral about my heritage, to me that is. The history of my people makes me sad and angry, yet fills me with pride as well. At times the people of this tiny island and their descendants have shook the foundations of the world. The music makes my blood run hot. I play the whistle and am struggling with the uilleann pipes. The dancing makes me want to move my own feet, though I usually refrain for asthetic reasons. I even love a good, stout beer.

St. Patrick's day runs through everything it means to be an Irish-American. The celebration is a symbol of why my family and I are even here. St. Patrick's Day was, in many ways, the centerpiece of the Irish-American's rise from discrimination and hate to acceptance and prominence.

Naturally the history of the Irish American's isn't all so goody-goody. If you ask someone what they think of regarding Irish-American history, one of the first things that will come out of their mouths will be the Irish Mob. I have Irish mobsters in my background, a few generations back, and it's the dark side of the Irish spirit, trying to carve out a living in an environment of oppression, and choosing the wrong path. But perhaps that's a discussion for another day.

I heard Malachy McCourt say that most of history is written by the winners, but his history of Ireland (and others, by implication) is a history written by the losers. The Irish have faced brutal persecution on so many fronts, mostly from ruthless regimes of Britain, and have nearly always met death and defeat until the last century. I heard a comment on the TV that Irish is the only race that everyone wants to be one day a year. In all corners of the earth you can find descendants of Erin, and on this day, we are for a brief time one in the Wearin' O' the Green.


It's about me, dummy!!!


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