I get bemused by the green beer, dyed rivers and fountains on St. Patrick’s Day. On the first count I think most indigenous Irish think that is a crime against good beer. On the last two counts I wonder what those dyes are doing for the health of the salmon of wisdom.
While others think leprechauns for Ireland, in Ireland we tend to revere the fairies. Our parades are generally full of political satire, which goes right back to the bardic tradition of ancient Ireland. Plenty of young ones sport false rears sporting ‘Pogue Mahone’ – roughly and more politely translated as smooch here.
There have been moves to encourage people to wear a snake on St. Patrick’s Day as a way to reclaim the druidic past. You see adders(snakes) were never native to Ireland. Ireland never has had a snake species. Not even a garden variety. It is hypothesised that the ‘snakes’ were actually the Druids that the conversion to Christianity supplanted with Patrick’s mission to Ireland.
Alternatively, anti-fracking activists have declared St. Patrick’s Day an international day of action to prevent hydraulic fracturing of shale gas in Ireland’s least spoiled landscape in the Lough Allen and Clare Basins. Given the watery nature of the land experiences elsewhere in the world have raised anxieties at home about the dangers of water pollution and worse. So in Carrick on Shannon they will be sporting black shamrocks at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to alert the wider public to the dangers and asking people to contact TDs (deputies in the Dáil or Irish Parliament) and county councillors to prevent this happening in both the Republic and Northern Ireland.
“Don’t Frack with the Fairies”
Image copyright Helga Martinez
Here is rural Ireland it is the traditional day to set your spuds on St. Patrick’s Day. That is exactly what I intend to be doing this year. It’s warm enough even for our frost pocket prone field to chance the first earlies. There are plenty of parades going on too – we are spoiled for choice between our local one, another five miles away that is cross border between Belcoo and Blacklion. Heading out to the big towns around twenty miles away we could attend Carrick on Shannon or Enniskillen.
For me, on St. Patrick’s Day I think about the tenets of Celtic Spirituality – that of seeing God in nature, giving hospitality, celebrating with music and poetry, nurturing soul friendships. So I’ll be out in the garden setting spuds and planting some memorial plants since this St. Patrick’s Day marks the 50th anniversary of the day my father was buried. I’ll plant two things for both my parents. So first thing is to get to the garden centre early and then wield the spade.
Over this national holiday weekend we will join in the Thur Mountain celebrations organised by Glenfarne Community Development. Glenfarne is just seven miles over the Boleybrack from us. They are having three kinds of walk to appeal to all classes of walker from the hardcore hillwalkers, to the staunch ramblers right down to the dog strollers. We’ll be in the latter category. But all the walking groups will gather in the Rainbow Ballroom of Romance for some tea and craic after doing all that healthful activity.
In the evening we get to have the music and poetry and some more hospitality. We are having a birthday celebration and that is the cue for conviviality, homemade music, singing and reciting or reading poems. There will also be homemade cake!
But let me leave you with a favourite Irish blessing attributed to St. Patrick.
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.
Beir Bua (Best Wishes)
Bee Smith created Irish Blessings Tours to serve travelers to Ireland who want the unique and inspirational packaged for their group’s desires and needs. Bee seeks the source to manifest your dream Irish vacation according to your budget and time scale. She has a special interest in Fairy folklore, Celtic Spirituality and the Natural Heritage of northwestern Ireland and Northern Ireland. In 2011 Bee became one of the first trained tour guides that act at ambassadors for the UNESCO designated Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. Send her your dreams for your Ireland vacation package to firstname.lastname@example.org.