Saturday, March 17, 2007

St. Patrick's Day Memories

By Brian Mullen (and special guest blogger: Jennifer Mullen)

By the time you read this, it will be St. Patrick's Day. It is fitting that it is my day to blog as I am part Irish (although I haven't yet narrowed down exactly which part).

I must admit that I don't know much about the holiday above the basics that everybody knows: that St. Patrick's Day was named after Saint.....uhm, I can't think of his name right at the moment (I think it starts with a B) but, anyway, this saint, who was also a leprechan I think, was famous for playing a kazoo and leading all the rats out of the city thus saving Ireland from the potato famine. To celebrate this victory, the population of Ireland went to the nearest pub and haven't left since. There's also something about kissing a giant rock too that I'm missing, but you get the general idea. Then the Irish crossed over the Bering Strait and settled on the East Coast of America bringing with them their whiskey, wolfhounds and green soap that smells "clean as a whistle."

I, myself, have never been to Ireland but I know (and married) someone who has. She wanted to share with all of you her memories of her visit so, without further ado, I'm pleased to introduce to you my beautiful (and Irish) wife...Jennifer. Take it away, Sweetie!

Three years ago today, I was on my way to see the Emerald Isle to see the forty shades of green. It was a break from the usual St. Patrick's Day in Pittsburgh, PA. Although in Pittsburgh, a St. Patrick's Day celebration proves to be fun every time with all of the hoopla, but this was a very special St. Patrick's Day in Ireland.

A Friend from the Emerald Isle commented that the security around Ireland's border is extremely tight, and after visiting the America's noticed that the borders were not nearly as controlled. My mom, sister, and I arrived in the Shannon Airport. Security was tough. We gathered our bearings after an extremely long flight, and moved towards our rental car.

It was great that my older sister was willing to take the risk to drive through Ireland. Driving in Ireland was interesting because a person drives on the opposite side as we do in America. Personally, I was not interested in the risk because the roads were very narrow, but my sister, with a not so perfect driving record was willing to take the risk.

Our first night, after hours of driving through forty shades of green while stopping for sheep and miscellaneous livestock arrived in Skibereen. We stayed in an old castle and the owner Kate and her husband had wisky from the jar. Boy could you smell the wisky when we arrived.

It was an old castle with water surronding the front. We scurried up a few floors to find our room. I felt like I was in a mystery house and I had much curiosity about the history of the castle and all of the old items. I could have stayed for weeks investigating.

St. Patrick's Day in Pittsburgh is very flashy compared to the celebrations in Ireland that are very simple; Irish music, dancing, drink and simple fun. St. Patrick's Day is considered a Holy Day in Ireland.

Throughout our trip, we stopped to visit and have the occassional Irish coffee in the many pubs across Ireland. From bed and breakfasts to an Island community with minimal motor vehicles to another castle we went. The people, ocean, music, culture, cliffs of mohr, Dublin and all of the wonderful sites were amazing. Most importantly, we traveled to see the forty shades of green with people I love dearly, and I will never forget the trip.

I was planning a trip to the Matchmaking in September, but in August, I met my lovely husband Brian right here in the USA. I would not trade him for anything. Before we met, he was Italian through and through, but we managed to bring out his Irish heritage and he now wears a PROUD TO BE IRISH shirt, and lives with shamrocks and Irish flags throughout the house from Valentines Day until March.


Anonymous said...

So, what is it with St. Patrick's Day and the annual blizzard? Is that part of the Irish celebration, too?

Anonymous said...

You learn something new every day. I grew up in a part of Lincoln-Larimer that was considered an Italian immigrant neighborhood, and I never realized that "Mullen" was an Italian name! And "Brian" as well. Hmmm. I'm also part Irish -- through my mother's mother's mother, to be exact. If we were matrilineal, that would make me Irish, I think. Or if I'd taken my ex-husband's last name -- McNeeley -- people would think I was Irish. Instead, I kept my birthname,
"Sestak," so nobody knows what I am. Still, everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's day, so let's wear green and drink beer and drive out all the snakes with shillelaghs and shamrocks -- Erin go bragh!

Anonymous said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Very interesting history and perspective on Ireland, Brian and Jennifer! Someone I used to work with spent her honeymoon in Ireland and loved it.

Anonymous said...

When my husband and I were in Ireland, we met an old lad in County Wexford who seemed to want to chat.

I said, "I was just telling my husband about some of the Irish superstitions."

"Oh, we Irish have no superstitions, Lass," he sang. "Now, where is it that you're headin'?"

"We're looking for Loftus Hall," I said.

"It's right up the road, there." He gestured to a curvy, uphill climb. "And be careful," he said. "The place is haunted."

Joyce Tremel said...

I'm part Irish, too. My grandparents' names were Sloan and McCloskey. I made four loaves of Irish Soda Bread this week and am making Shepherd's Pie for dinner. Top that with a Guinness, and I'm a very happy lass.

There aren't very many places in this world that I want to go, but Ireland is one of them. Scotland, too. (I'm a descendant of Robert the Bruce on my dad's side).

Annette said...

For most of my life I believed I was largely Irish. I felt a deep connection to Ireland and longed to visit it someday. Then my nephew, the geneologist in the family, informed me that the branch of the family which I THOUGHT was Irish was instead German.

I still want to go to Ireland and have not desire to see Germany. And at least for today I can embrace my Irish heritage. Or non-heritage, as the case may be.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an awesome I hope to take someday.