i’m proud to be Irish! My mother hails from there and her family has been there since the 1100’s. I cheer on the Irish soccer team every time they qualify for a major soccer tournament, and I even cry when I hear Soldier’s Song play, which is Ireland’s national anthem. As much as I love Ireland, I don’t intend to dress up in green and wear a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” shirt on St. Paddy’s Day. Why? In my honest opinion, I believe St. Paddy’s Day mocks the Irish more than honors them. Sure, I wear an Irish soccer jersey and sit down to a pint of Guinness, but that’s about it.
The Irish are renowned for enjoying a good pint, but I believe if they weren’t no one would celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as much. It is just another excuse to get super loaded, only to regret it when you see those awful photos leaked all over social media. There is more to the Irish than the green and Guinness – a lot more!
First off, the Irish are a nation born in blood and fire. They’ve endured centuries of invasion and conquest by the Vikings, the French and the British. In fact, they haven’t yet been an independent nation for one hundred years. Many of my ancestors were tortured by British soldiers. I think it’s amazing that the Irish endured so much yet eventually won their battle for home rule.
The Irish have also endured despair internally. The Great Potato Famine saw thousands of Irish citizens having to leave their homeland in search of a better life. Then of course came the troubles in the twentieth century. The fight to obtain home rule, the economic strife of the 1940’s and 1950’s, not to mention all the trouble with the I.R.A. My grandfather experienced some of this as he lost his job on Christmas Eve, and had to move his family to England – a place that didn’t take kindly to the Irish. He loved his country so much, but had no choice but to abandon it for the sake of my grandmother, mother and two aunts. Like him, thousands of Irish folks have had to go abroad, leaving behind their homeland they love so much. There are more Irish citizens living outside of Ireland than in!
Even today economic woes hit the Emerald Isle. With the euro as the official currency, things are really expensive in Ireland. It’s a great place to visit, not so much to live in. So when you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, celebrate the Irish for being such proud, hard-working and enduring warriors, rather than being crazy drinkers. As tiny as the island is, it has left a huge mark in the world. Every European seems to like them. I know because I have an Irish passport and I always get a smile from European customs officers when they see it. Remember this: St. Patrick wasn’t Irish; he was actually British.