Happy St. Patrick's Day one and all. This is one of my favorite holidays of the year (along with Cinco de Mayo and Christmas). I'm at work wearing my tweed flatcap (you know, the hats that old men wear) in honor of the day, plus I'm wearing green. If I can convince a few people to head out tonight, I'll down my share of watered down green beer as well (and hopefully squeeze in a Guiness or Harp as well).
So I really dig the Irish; I mean I really dig these people. Some might ask: Cincy, why do you dig the Irish so much? Well, there are several reasons. First, the holiday St. Patrick's Day. What a great holiday. For one day, the whole world is Irish. It's a happy holiday (except for the mean drunks that fuck up any good time of which I am not; I'm a loving drunk; I love everyone when I'm drunk). For one day, everyone is decked out in green, everyone is happy, everyone is pretty much celebrating and carrying on. It's a great day to just get out and enjoy life!
Next, the Irish people are some of the warmest I've ever met. They remind me so much of my family; very willing to just sit and talk with you. When I visited Ireland, I never felt threatened anywhere we went. Even in what my friend called a "rough area" in Mullingar, I walked into a McDonalds and had myself a shake while she made some calls. No one harassed me, no dirty looks, no one cared. I was just another dude off the street. When I hit a local pub, everyone wanted to talk over a pint and carry on. We talked politics, life, the old life in Ireland. This was right before the invasion of Iraq. While most of the Irish people were opposed to the war (there were protests in Dublin with 100's of 1000's of people), I was never disrespected for being an American. The questions were always couched as "what do you think" or "what's your opinion". I'm sure I stood out like a sore thumb, especially in the midlands where I was visiting (you could tell I was an American ... always wearing my college cap and sweatshirts), but was treated wonderfully everywhere I went.
I also like the tenacity and grit of the Irish. Here are a people that have been historically mistreated on so many fronts and yet they have the grit and tenacity to stick it out. Despite the mistreatment in the States, they simply decided to open their schools and universities to educate their own. I used to clerk for an Irish-Americna attorney during law school and he somehow came across an old sign that read "No Irish Need Apply". Now, I can see when someone makes a paper sign and hangs it next to the "Help Wanted" sign, but this thing was actually an old tin sign, an indication of the permanence of the sentiment at the turn of the century. There were even anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia and the response of the Irish was to move out the city and eventually, from what I understand, this led to the founding of Villanova University. I've heard stories from my friends in Ireland of how during the potato famine, poorhouses wouldn't feed a person until he or she renounced Catholicism. And yet, Catholicism is still the predominant religion despite attempts to extinguish it. I know that the attitude of the younger Irish population is much more lax when it comes to religion, I've read that most will consider themselves Catholic if asked. Heck, during the Mexican-American War, many of the Irish defected over to fight with Mexico to form the San Patricio Brigade. They fought with Mexico for several reasons, including the fact that Mexico was predominantly Catholic and many of the Irish had been indentured servants whose conscious wouldn't allow them to fight in a war that would lead to the spread of slavery into Texas and so on.
If I ever get married, it would be wonderful if my wife were Irish or part-Irish. I can't think of another group of people who mesh so well with my own. Plus they do have the sweetest accents I've ever heard! Anyways, Happy St. Patrick's Day!
P.S. My old roommate SJ just called. He is going to try to snag some tickets on Saturday for U2 in December! Woo-hoo ... seems appropriate on St. Patrick's Day!