Sons & Daughters Of Éirinn

Today is the day set aside for honoring the man known as Patrick of Ireland, credited for introducing the Christian faith to Ireland and thus driving the pagans out of their long-entrenched preponderance.

While much of this day is buried `neath the cellophane foil veneer of commercialism or drowned in drunken revelry and wanton carousings, this day is always a solemn day of contemplation for me.

My lineage is traced backwards through the mists of time, gnarled branches reaching across the ocean to the Emerald Isle… meandering in every direction. In some places vanishing into plebian obscurity and, in others, wrapping themselves around a forgotten crown.

Generations of farmers, scholars, drunkards, lords, laborers, revolutionaries, soldiers, sailors, philosophers, priests, criminals, and kings are found in my ancestry… William of Orange and Michael `Coilein share a unity in blood that could never be found in their respective politics; “Viking-slayer” Brian Boru and long lines of Hiberno-Norsemen make a tenuous peace with each other through the twisting sprawl of my roots.

Names of infamy and renown, some names never known… wars waged between precious few moments of peace, sufferings inflicted and endured, love and loss, death and life. Life, the life of a family… and the passing of a name.

“…we would no Irish sign efface,

but yet our lips would gladlier hail

the firstborn of the Coming Race,

than the last splendour of the Gael…”

In my household, there is play… such silly trifles as a breakfast of Lucky Charms cereal and “toad-in-the-hole” brunches with tea, shamrocks and “Danny Boy” warbling in mock-mournful tones, food and drinks colored green, a tawdry pendant worn upon my chest.

My wife puts the finishing touches on a masterful meal, even as I scribble these words down in haste. Corned-beef, cabbage, potatoes, and Irish soda bread… to be washed down with a thick pint.

Later, when the evening grows small, there will be quiet… reflection and remembrance.

For there remains a thick Irish root embedded in the black soil within me.

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