Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day: Toasts, Musings and Special Irish Men and Women


Saint Patrick was a gentleman,
Who through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland.
Here's to toasting to his health,
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see all those snakes again.

A Happy St. Patrick's Day to one and all and especially to all those who live in the beautiful Emerald Isle.  I don't have any Irish ancestry, but I still celebrate the day.  I always wear green and I always watch The Quiet Man, the 1952 film starring Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne.


Likely born on the west coast of Britain, St. Patrick was a 5th century Christian missionary and bishop of Ireland.  His father, Calpornius, was a Romanized Briton who served as a deacon. Although from a Christian family and the son of a deacon, Patrick was not religious in his early years.

Some of St. Patrick's writings, such as the Confessio (Confession) and the Letter to Coroticus, survive.  According the the Confessio, when Patrick was about 16 years old, he was abducted from the villa of his father by Irish raiders.  He was sold into slavery in Ireland and forced to work the land as a sheepherder.  After six years of captivity, he escaped and returned home.

The experience changed him profoundly and he discovered a new sense of spirituality.  After becoming a Christian cleric, Patrick returned to Ireland as a missionary, preaching to many and baptizing many.  He became the revered patron saint and national apostle of Ireland.

The year of St. Patrick's birth and his death are unknown, but he is thought to have died on March 17th, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.


* There is a legend that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland.  This is highly improbable because it is unlikely there were ever any snakes there.  However, the story may be allegorical, a reference to the driving out of evil, with the snake or serpent symbolizing evil.

Here, in no particular order, are my favourite Irish men and women of note.


James Joyce, Irish novelist and poet
Born: February 2, 1882: Rathgar, Dublin, Ireland
Died: January 13, 1941, aged 58, Zurich, Switzerland


George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright
Born: July 26, 1856, Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 2, 1950, aged 94, Ayot St Lawrence, England


Left to right: Larry Mullen, Jr., Adam Clayton, The Edge, Bono

U2, Irish rock band, formed in 1976
Members: Bono (Paul Hewson), Adam Clayton, The Edge (David Howell Evans), Larry Mullen, Jr.    



Bono (Birth name: Paul David Hewson), musician, songwriter, lead singer of the Irish rock band U2
Born: May 10, 1960, Dubln, Ireland


Maeve Binchy (Born Anne Maeve Binchy), Irish journalist, writer, novelist
Born: May 28, 1940 (1939 according to the biography Maeve Binchy, by Piers Dudgeon), Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland
Died: July 30, 2012, aged 73, Dublin, Ireland


Maureen O'Hara (Birth name: Maureen FitzSimons), Irish-American actress
Born: August 17, 1920, Ranelagh, Dublin, Ireland


Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde, Irish author, playwright and poet
Born: October 16, 1854, Dublin, Ireland
Died:  November 30, 1900, aged 46, Paris, France


Thomas Moore, Irish poet, singer, songwriter
Born: May 28, 1779, Dublin, Ireland
Died: February 25, 1852, aged 72, Bromham, Wiltshire, England


Jonathan Swift, Anglo-Irish satirist, writer and cleric
Born: Dublin, Ireland, November 30, 1667
Died: October 19, 1745, aged 77, Dublin, Ireland


William Butler Yeats: Irish poet
Born: June 13, 1865, aged 73, Sandymount, Ireland (a coastal suburb of Dublin)
Died: January 28, 1939, Menton, France

May the sound of happy music, and the lilt of Irish laughter, fill your heart with gladness, that stops forever after.

- Joanne

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