Happy St. Paddy’s Day to you!
Who was Saint Patrick, and why do we celebrate today? Neither a canonized saint nor Irish, he was born in Roman Britain in the late 4th century, kidnapped at the age of 16 by pirates, and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped but later returned to convert the Irish from their pagan Druid practices to Christianity. He died on March 17, 461, having first established monasteries, churches, and schools on the Emerald Isle.
Here’s another Irish history nugget: Blarney Castle was constructed in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy, Irish King of Munster. Queen Elizabeth I of England (1558-1603) had ordered the Earl of Leicester to seize it, but its owner was so talkative that the earl wasn’t able to get the job done. Frustrated with the earl’s ineptitude, the queen allegedly called his reports (or excuses) “blarney.” The term stuck: according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “blarney” means “skillful flattery,” “nonsense,” or “humbug.”
The castle’s famous Blarney Stone is said to bestow that gift of gab on those who kiss it. When I puckered up, I was relieved to discover that visitors no longer are suspended headfirst and held by their ankles. I felt totally safe. Well, reasonably.
If you’ve never been to Ireland, or have visited and wish you could travel back again, I’m offering you an armchair journey: no plane fare, no layovers, no PCR or antigen tests. Just a two-week trip to one of the most beautiful and fascinating countries in the world. So make a cup of tea or pour yourself a Guinness (I prefer Chardonnay with a drop of green food coloring today) and come away with me.
“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”