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This is a photograph of the Chicago River dyed...
Wikipedia Happy St Patrick’s Day *March 17*

Where I live, we claim to be Irish (ahem… some actually are IRISH), we wear green, we sing Irish songs, we eat corned beef and cabbage (why are potatoes not on this menu?), we drink green beer, we dye our rivers green, we paint green stripes down our boulevards, we have parades  and we wear ribbons in our hair and shamrocks on our clothes.

Ok, this is the deal …we celebrate this day for a guy (Patrick) who wasn’t Irish but is the patron saint of Ireland. Hmm. This thing has gone viral!

Since my mom was full blooded Irish, we basked in this special day because we were Irish  …so it was OUR day!

The best thing about St Patrick’s Day is all the fiddlers and Irish musicians come out of hiding, dust off their sheet music and make wonderful sounds.

Here’s some pretty music from Skean Dubh who played in Lyons, CO.
Another traditional Irish music band is lovely Lough Key.

And a very special Irish Blessing to you all:

May the roads rise to meet you,
May the winds 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 hollow of his hand.”

 

 

Happy St Patrick’s Day mom!

Pass the Skype please

 

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase

CrunchBase

My sister was at my table for dinner last night. It was a real treat because she was in NY and I was in Colorado. We were able to share stories, toast our drinks, laugh, and make plans. The only thing was I couldn’t reach across and taste her apple cobbler.

Have you used Skype yet? It’s the kind of technology that opens doors, windows and removes barriers.  I can wish Happy Birthday to my sister in Ireland, watch the Discovery blast off with my brother in Florida or watch my niece make pizza for her family in NJ.

I can watch my family grow up, move to new places, celebrate accomplishments, and feel as if I’m there.

Skype is free. You need a camera and a microphone which most laptops already have.

If you use it, let me know what you think.
If you don’t you don’t know what you’re missing!

Thatch house in Ireland

Ireland photos: Dressed in Green

As I sit under white skies on a cold day, surrounded by brown landscape … I dream of the green of Ireland. Check out my 2010 photos of County Cavan, Tipperary, Donegal, Westport, Dublin and everything in-between.

Sending birthday greetings to Sue Ellen – to someone who is living her (green) dream!

Continue reading “Ireland photos: Dressed in Green”

A Bit of Irish History from a Yank’s Perspective

This past summer I had the golden opportunity to visit my sister in Ireland. I arrived in late June and was greeted with one of the warmest summers on record. The weather included bright sunshine, warm days and a sun that set after 10 pm (finally!)

While I was there, I did many of the tourist things that we all do. I went to Dublin, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, visited churches and museums, walked up and down hills, ate potatoes (lots of potatoes), drank beer, took photos and was entranced by castles.

If Walls Could Talk

Hidden in plain sight was the thatch cottage. Many of them are gone now, dismissed and ignored or torn down in the building boom of the 1990’s when highways were built with disregard to some of the history that was being destroyed.

I had the opportunity to visit some of the cottages or homesteads where the two-three room dwelling with dirt floors and a central fire place was the standard way of living 50 years ago.  As you look at the ruins of the homes, you can still see the sturdy interior white-washed stone walls.

Ducking my head in the small doorway, I entered the cottage to see blackened pots, an iron bed Homestead cottage in Ballyholly, County Cavan, Irelandframe, a cross and picture of the Jesus and another of Mary, Mother of God and other religious icons.  The cottage was solid, the window frames intact and the roof was strong.

This cottage and so many others like it dot the Irish hillsides, standing in the shadows of newer homesteads build by affluent residents over the years. Like the thatch cottages, these homestead cottages have a story to tell and the people who lived in them are still here to tell it. As family members return to Ireland to learn about their family, they can visit cottages as well as cemeteries. Many landowners don’t understand the historical nature of the homestead cottage on their property.  Although many siblings grew up in the cottage, it belongs to the “one who stayed behind.”

Cottage Industry

I visited many of these structures and they are in shambles. As with the castles, these humble cottages have history oozing from the rafters.  It would be a simple thing to ask local communities to clean up the cottages and create aOld stove in homestead cottage in County Cavan, Ireland ‘homestead tour.’  Tourists could ride bikes or take busses from cottage to cottage, learning local history, visiting shops, touring museums and libraries to have a peek at the Irish past – at the past of their parents and grandparents.

It would be the gift that keeps on giving as long as family keeps on asking.