A Wee Bit of Irish Knowledge

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya! St. Patrick’s Day has always been a great day in my book. Being a purebred Irish-American lass named Erin, I have little choice. Every St. Patty’s Day growing up, my parents took my sisters and me out of school early to go into New York City to watch the parade. Mom would pin a huge shamrock door decoration on me that said “Kiss Me, I’m Irish.” Boy, did she want me to find a man early in life!

Actually, “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” goes back to the Blarney Stone, which sits in a wall on top of Blarney Castle in County Cork, Ireland. Whoever kisses the Blarney Stone receives the gift of gab. Dad took us there when I was ten years old. As an adult, I’m quite adventurous, but as a kid I found this task daunting. In order to actually kiss the Blarney Stone, you must lie on your back, grab the bars behind you on the top tier of the castle and lean backwards far down to reach it. There is nothing under the bars except air. It’s like leaning backwards outside the window of a 50 story building and trying to grab something from a neighbor’s windowsill below.  In a word: scary. Being small, I thought I may slip through the bars and decided to skip this event. Dad didn’t force me to do it. Instead, he held me tightly and assured me it was a blessing that I declined the option because I already was born with the gift of gab. He was right. My family used to try to trick me at dinner sometimes and play “How long can Erin stay quiet?” That game never appealed to me. I always lost.

“Erin Go Bragh” is another Irish term, which means “Ireland Forever”. Translated, my name is Ireland. This is part of the reason I correct people when they think I have the same name as a boy. It’s not interchangeable between sexes like Kelly or Dana. It’s different. Aaron Rogers is great football player. Erin Brown is a wise guy who is having trouble coming up with a solid example to demonstrate this point.

When I became of legal age to celebrate St. Patrick’s day properly in public (as a child, after the St. Patrick’s Day parade, my family would finish the day at Parnell’s Pub, owned by my cousin and I would sneak sips of my Mom’s whiskey sour), I often found myself doing a an Irish jig in the middle of a circle of people chanting “Erin Go Braugh-less”. Thankfully, that joke got old. Call me proud Irish.

No matter where I am on March 17th, I make sure to celebrate my heritage by spending it with good, fun souls. So on this March 17th, my friends, may the road rise up to meet you and bring you whatever luck your heart desires.

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