Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Erin Go Bragh

     Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It's that time of year when we hoist a mug of ale, quote Irish Blessings and add an O' to the front of our name, even if that name happened to originate in Germany, Sweden or Russia.  Surely, someone, somewhere on our vast family tree must have been from the Auld Sod.  And if they weren't...well, what can it hurt to pretend for one day out of the year?

Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?   Attend parades?  Eat anything special?  Have you been to Ireland or, like me, do you long to one day visit the Emerald Isle?  Do you get a tear in your eye when the band plays "Danny Boy" or raise your voice in a rousing chorus of "When Irish Eyes are Smiling?"

When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.

Speaking of stealing your heart away, does your heart melt just a wee bit at the thought of a blue-eyed, dark-haired Irish lad casting a grin your way and, in a lilting Irish brogue, greeting you with "top o' the mornin', lass."  ::Sigh::   The mature Pierce Brosnan still makes me weak in the knees but it's the young Irish lad who first captured my heart in his role as Rory O'Manion, way back in the 1981 mini-series "The Manions of America."  I wanted to get on a plane to Ireland the very next day.

My St. Patrick's Day menu is corned beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes.  I don't remember ever having it while growing up but after sampling it at The Pretzel Bell (a local eatery) while in college, along with cold draft beer and hot black bread, it's become my March 17th tradition.

I have memories of being a little girl and wearing green so as not to get pinched at school on St. Paddy's Day.  It's a tradition I continue, though these days pinching someone can get you in a heap of trouble, St. Patrick's day or not.  I do lay claim to Irish blood in my ancestry and enjoy celebrating that part of my heritage. I've been to a few parades but not any of the big ones.  One of these days, I'd like to be in Savannah, Georgia on St. Patrick's Day.  They've been publicly honoring the day since 1813 and are recognized as having the second largest St. Patrick's Day celebration in the United States.

I admit to getting emotional whenever I hear "Danny Boy" and I've joined in many a rousing rendition of "When Irish Eyes are Smiling", usually after a few rounds of brew.  I haven't met the Irish lad with the twinkling blue eyes in person yet but I sure do enjoy meeting him on screen and in the pages of the many wonderful romances I've read.  Nora Roberts, in particular, is exceptionally talented at bringing both Ireland and Irishmen to life in her stories.

So, whether you're Irish, or only Irish for a day, I wish you a very happy St. Patrick's Day and leave you with two of my favorite Irish blessings.

An Old 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.

An Irish Prayer  
May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.


Do you have a favorite Irish blessing to share with us?  Or a bit of Irish trivia?  How about a favorite book set in Ireland or featuring a sexy, Irish hero?   One can never have too many of those on her tbr mountain! 


  1. Happy St. Patrick's Day, Everyone. My maiden name is Irish and the area I grew up in was very Irish. Have not been to Ireland yet, but hope to one day.

    My home town in Upstate New York always had a wild St. Patrick's Day. No parades, but the green beer started flowing early. It is a college town and things would get rather wild. My uncle owned a bar, and they would start lining up at 10 AM and the line was there all day, well into the night. The max number would be let in, and as someone would leave (on their own or being carried) another person would be allowed in. People would be dancing on the bar and tables. Girls would be displaying shamrocks painted on strategic parts of their anatomy. More than once a young man would displace his strategic appendage colored green. This was back in the 60's. The bar is gone, and I don't know if there is still that wild a celebration. One year while I was in college, PLAYBOY MAGAZINE listed my uncle's place as one of the top 10 places to be to party on St. Pat's Day. A big surprise for a town of 35,000. I never did go. I never did see the attraction of getting falling down/passing out drunk, no matter what the occasion.

    We have boiled dinner (corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, onions, carrots), Irish Soda Bread, Irish Coffee Pie, and Irish Coffees. Usually have Killian's beer which is too dark to dye green. When the children were little (a looooong time ago) I would get up early and make pancakes for breakfast. They were green and shaped like shamrocks.

    We love Celtic music and will be attending a concert in Asheville, NC this Friday by the BATTLEFIELD BAND. There are 4 more Celtic concerts in the next 2 months. I can't wait!

    As for trivia, did you know the English sold hundreds of thousands of Irish men, women, and children into slavery? They were cheaper than black slaves and often treated as disposable property. The Irish famine was an English creation. There was a potato blight, but during that time period, the English had full warehoused of food in Ireland and was actually exporting food from the country. They used slavery and starvation to clear the way for English settlers.

  2. Sorry, I didn't realize it was so long.

  3. Happy St. Patrick's day to all !
    I am half Irish and have always loved St Patty's day and all the parades, food, blessings and laughter.
    I loved Pierce as Rory and adore Roarke from J.D. Robb's In Death books. I've never been to Ireland although my daughter has and said that there is nothing greener then the land in Ireland.Andrew Greeley is an Irish Priest who writes some of the best Irish romance books and has 2 excellent series going. I know , a Priest and writes great stories and romance . I promise, you'll love his books. They are all about Irish families.
    Carol L.

  4. I love everything Irish and can claim a wee bit of the heritage as my own. My son has a lot more :-)

    Corned beef, cabbage and potatoes are to be served at my house this evening though just a bit of information here...cabbage being served with corned beef didn't originate in Ireland. That Irish tradition was began in America when the Irish couldn't find ingredients they used in the old country for there feasts.

  5. Happy St. Patty's Day to everyone!!!! I love this day!

    I have my green on today and so does my family :-)

    I too claim some Irish blood.

    And guess what I watched last night -- Celtic Thunder. Love listening to those guys!! Especially at the end when they are all wearing those leather kilts!!!!

  6. Don't apologize, librarypat. I thought that was fascinating!

    I was a teen in the 60s and can well imagine how it must have been at your uncle's bar.

    You live near Asheville? So do I! I'm about 90 minutes from there. Hope it's a wonderful concert. Enjoy!

    Have you been to the Irish Memorial in NYC? It's very moving.

  7. Carol, I've read a couple of Greeley's books and agree. They're wonderful!

    I think I'm going to have to finally make time to read the In Death books. :)

  8. Thanks for the trivia, Dianna! Hope you have a wonderful day!

  9. Morning, Buffie! Love Celtic Thunder! Another fav of mine is Celtic Woman. I could listen to them all night long. Such breathtakingly beautiful voices.

  10. I married a German but like librarypat my maiden name is Irish. My father would say I'm American but 3 out of 4 grandparents are from the Auld Sod. The 4th is first generation American, his parents were born in Ireland. So the blarney flows heavy in my veins.

    I grew up in a huge Irish Catholic family in a huge Irish city - Chicago. They turn the river green every March 17th. The parades are plentiful and the craziness legendary.

    The Father/Daughter dance at my wedding was When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. It's cliche but Danny Boy does bring a tear to my eye. And I've heard enough bagpipe players over my lifetime to turn a normal person deaf. I still love'em, though.

    I absolutely loved Pierce as Rory O'Manion and then followed him on to Remington Steele. Back in the 90s I looked high and low for a tape of Manions of America and couldn't find it. I'll have to renew my search.

    My dream is to tour England, Ireland and Scotland. Maybe someday. I'm priming my kids to give that to their parents for our 25th! Only 8 years to wait.

    I just sent my two off to school looking like leprechauns. They love their Irish heritage and celebrate it whenever they get the chance.

  11. Top o' the mornin' to ye all!

    Hi, PJ. I don't have any Irish blood in me. (I know I've expounded upon it numerous times, but am mostly Danish, Swedish, and a bit of Scottish. Even though my Grandpa immigrated from Denmark, he considered himself an American Dane.)

    I shared this over at Romance Bandits this morning: When my daughter was in preschool, her teacher turned the room upside down and left little gold chocolate coins for the kids. She left a note on the board saying that the leprechaun had visited their room. Shary was totally enchanted with the idea, so I've tried to do it at home, too. I forgot last year and she was disappointed. I've decided I'll run home and turn over some chairs, etc. before I pick her up. This morning, she said, "I wonder if the leprechaun will visit our house." That kind of clinches it---I've got to run home and do some "fun" topsy-turvy stuff!!

  12. I always look to Nora for my dose of the Irish in my books. I love the Concannons, the Gallaghers and the Quinns. For a little extra fun I've been getting them in audio format and listening to the accents. It's fun.

    You printed the Irish blessing I'm most familiar with, PJ. I know it by heart cause it hung in all the kitchens of my youth - May the road rise up to meet you...

    This is another favorite of mine -

    May you live a long life
    Full of gladness and health,
    With a pocket full of gold
    As the least of your wealth.
    May the dreams you hold dearest,
    Be those which come true,
    The kindness you spread,
    Keep returning to you.

    Another one I heard often from all my uncles (although I always thought of it as a drinking cheer) is

    May you arrive in heaven an hour before the devil knows you're dead!

  13. P.S. I think the Irish blessings are lovely!

  14. Irish, the blarney surely does flow heavy in your veins! Do you still live in the Chicago area? I grew up on the Michigan side of the lake but, with oodles of relatives on the southside, we spent a lot of time in the city.

    We lived on a small lake and were surrounded by huge Irish families from Chicago who would come out for the summer. It was from them that I gained my appreciation of all things Irish: songs, stories, jokes, beer, whiskey. *g*

    My sister-in-law is an accomplished flautist and when she played Danny Boy at my dad's funeral (at his request), there wasn't a dry eye in the place.

  15. Deb, I read your topsy-turvy story over at Romance Bandits earlier this morning. I love that! What a creative idea!

  16. Another one I heard often from all my uncles (although I always thought of it as a drinking cheer) is

    May you arrive in heaven an hour before the devil knows you're dead!

    LOL @ Irish! That's the one I'm most familiar with too and, as you said, usually after much imbibing. *g*

  17. P.S. I think the Irish blessings are lovely!

    Thanks, Deb!

  18. Happy St. Patrick's Day! I have a wee bit of the Irish in me, not just my name and green eyes. ;-)

    Celtic music is one of my favorites. PJ, I would love to see Celtic Woman live someday. I have seen Riverdance three times and Lord of the Dance once. Oh, how I wish I could dance like that!

    Librarypat, I'm about 2 hours from Asheville--I'll have to see if I can make it there for one of the Celtic concerts.

    Nora wins for my favorite Irish books--the Concannons and the Gallaghers are yearly rereads for me. And Roarke....the sexiest Irishman alive!

    PJ, I loved Pierce Brosnan as Rory O'Manion...and I still do. Liam Neeson is another hunky Irishman. *g*

    Here's some Irish blessings I love:

    Wishing you always...
    Walls for the wind,
    A roof for the rain
    And tea beside the fire.
    Laughter to cheer you,
    Those you love near you,
    And all that your heart may desire

    Here's to lying, stealing, and cheating!
    May you lie to save a friend;
    May you steal the heart of the one you love;
    and may you cheat death.


  19. Oh Happy Saint Patrick’s day to you, Ladies! I too will be wearing green today, eating corned beef and cabbage and counting my many blessings. My favorite Irish blessing is not so mush a blessing as it is an out look on life. Its "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong". I can relate to that. I’ve: been in a stampede, earthquake, had two cars totaled out around me, been in a building that was partially demolished by a tornado, shot at, carjacked , been on the Great Lakes when a storm hit & threatened to capsize the boat I was on. And I’ve had a near death experience with a shirt containing a shelf bra.
    Yes, I can relate to Murphy’s Law.
    Because I an a living, breathing, example of Murphy’s Law at work. Not surprising I suppose since my Mother’s maiden name is … Murphy!

  20. I have no Irish in my background at all, and don't really have any St. Patrick's Day traditions, though I may have a drink in celebration.

    I have never been to Ireland, but everyone who has been always say the country is beautiful, and the locals as welcoming as can be. I definitely have to make it to Ireland at some point.

    But I totally approve of the picture of Pierce, PJ!! The first movie I ever saw him in was Mrs. Doubtfire, but he totally won me over as Bond in Golden Eye. Just something about the dark good looks and accent. ;) He is, and always will be my favorite Bond, though the purists insist it's Sean Connery. I also loved him in The Thomas Crowne Affair. He and Rene Russo really gave a steamy performance.

    As for Irish heroes or books set in Ireland, I agree that no one does it better than Nora. I love her Gallaghers series (Shawn and Brenna are my favorite), and the Born In trilogy. Her love of Ireland, and its people and culture, shines through with every page.

    One of my favorite movies set in Ireland is Circle of Friends. Chris O'Donnell and Minnie Driver were lovely together, and Alan Cumming was fantastic as the scheming smarmy bad guy.

    I sang the Old Irish Blessing in high school with my school choir. It's lovely. :)

  21. Happy St. Patricks Day! Me being me thought it was last sunday. lol I feel stupid. ^^


  22. I can claim Irish ancestry from my mother's family (and a mix of English and German from my father's). I'm wearing a green sweater today and a shamrock brooch, a gift from a friend who spent six weeks in Ireland. I'll skip the corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes, but I'll be rereading Nora's Gallagher books. I've already visited this marvelous site, which I think is the next best thing to visiting Ireland, plus I got to hear a beautiful Irish blessing pronounced in Roma Downey's lovely Irish voice.

    I'll make time to look at pictures of George too. Clooney is a good Irish name, so giving thanks for him must be an appropriate part of a St. Paddy's celebration. :)

  23. Ew, I had no idea St. Patrick's Day was today!
    That's of course because while there're a lot of people of Irish descent in America there are practically none in Germany (of course not, why should they?). But I've always love the idea of St. Patrick's Day and all that lovely green!
    My BFF recently told me that with my red hair I'd absolutely fit in if I were in Ireland. Hopefully, I'll get there one day (it isn't that far away from here anyway, at least not as far as it is from the US)!

  24. Happy St. Patrick's Day. I missed the parade on 5th Avenue, but I was there in spirit. I love Loucinda McGary's "The Wild Sight" and "The Treasures of Venice." Kiernan from Treasures is one of my favorite heroes.

  25. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    May you alway walk in sunshine.
    May you never want for more.
    May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.

  26. I love all the Irish blessings. So cool!

    PJ, I only live about an hour away so I'm still connected. And we have tons of family and friends who own cottages/summer homes in Southern Michigan. How fun!

    Off to put my corned beef in the oven...

    Happy St. Pat's all!