St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, so deemed for his zeal and success in converting the country to Christianity following his years of training in a monastery in France and his appointment as a bishop to Ireland. This Scottish born lad knew Ireland and its people well from the years he spent as a teen in captivity there, working as a shepherd. He escaped only to come back years later in March, 433, as a missionary. He died on March 17, 461, around 76 years old.
Wear a touch of emerald. Though any green will do, we think of this rich green in honor of the “Emerald Isle,” as poet William Drennan (1754-1820) first called beautiful lush, green Ireland in his poem When Erin First Rose.
Sing When Irish Eyes are Smiling. This is one of Ireland’s most beloved songs, written in 1912 by Americans Chauncey Olcott, whose mother emigrated from Ireland, George Graff, and Ernest Ball. Several years later, John McCormack, considered one of the greatest Irish tenors of all time, made the song forever famous.
Buy a Shamrock Plant (Oxalis). Its three leaves are similar to the shamrock used by St. Patrick to illustrate the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The shamrock is viewed by most as the white clover (Trifolium repens), a common plant. When a mutation occurs and four leaves form, we consider ourselves “lucky” to find one, and since the odds are against us 1:10,000, we are lucky, indeed. The four-leaf clover, however, is never considered a shamrock.
Decorate with touches of Ireland and spring, the start of the season only a few days away. Gather up those cherished, personal treasures that are tucked away and decorate for each season and holiday. Being able to take in hand, once more, the little gifts and family heirlooms that either represent decades of living or are brand new is an opportunity not to be missed. The value of the old is that it has survived a very long time … the who, what, when, and where of its history fascinating to contemplate.
In my photograph is a delicate Belleek creamer from Ireland that belonged to my mother, its 3rd period registry mark dating it from 1926-1946. It graces an authentic shamrock-embroidered doily from my friend, Karin, a gift from her trip to Ireland several years ago. The book is another treasure. Spring Is A New Beginning by Joan Walsh Anglund was published in 1963 and is one of her many books, her whimsical drawings and sayings extremely popular in the 1960s. I have four of Anglund’s titles. This book is extra special because it was a gift in October 1967 from Ginny, still one of my dearest friends, our friendship dating back to the second grade.
Bless others today with a traditional Gaelic blessing from Ireland.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!