"Suddenly all of your
ancestors are behind you...
they say, watch and listen,
you are the result of
the love of
Ah St. Paddy's Day...the day of the year where everyone is Irish and celebrates. I would be remiss if I did not write a post on St. Paddy's day honoring my Irish roots. This morning, I am enjoying a cuppa tea from one of my mother's favorite cups. It was a gift from relatives in Ireland. Slainte (cheers) mom and dad.
My parents have both passed away. We loved meeting for a cuppa or two of coffee/tea and conversation. Dad always asked me to bring baked goods. I told him that the coffee shops frowned on customers bringing in their own food! That fact did not seem to phase him...he always asked...I always obliged...he would eat a handful of cookies or bars, take the extra ones home and be happy as a clam. I miss them dearly.
In honor of St. Patrick's Day and the luck of the Irish, I am offering an amazing 50% discount off an Intuitive Writing Session with me. If you need to gain some insight, guidance, or need a bit of clarity on a problem in your life, sign up for an intuitive writing session. Use the coupon STPADDY50 during checkout to receive this incredible discount. I am offering this discount for one month starting today, March 17, 2023 - April 17, 2023. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
My father was from Northern Ireland and my mother was from Iowa. There is Irish on both sides of my family. When I was growing up, St. Patrick's Day was not a party in our household. We went to church, attended Catholic School, until they closed because of low enrollment, and we wore green...if and only if we had something green to wear. Our name was O'Brien, we were Catholic, and our family had many children. We fit a few of the stereotypes. I can tell you that we never had corned beef and cabbage for dinner. My father occasionally drank a Scotch whisky and my mother never drank.
My father emigrated to America for the opportunity of having a better life. He told me one time that had he stayed in Ireland he would not have survived the conflict and poverty there. He became an American citizen and assimilated into the American culture. The towns in Iowa where my family lived, until finally settling in southern Minnesota in 1963, were not hugely populated with Irish people, Irish culture or Catholics. Had they settled in St. Paul, Minnesota where there is a huge Irish Catholic population, my life and being Irish would possibly have been celebrated differently.
When my older siblings were young and attended the local Catholic school, there was a time when they performed the Irish jig at school celebrating St. Patrick's Day. My father had taught them how to do dance the jig. My mother sewed green skirts for all of my older sisters to wear and green vests for my brothers. I believe this tradition came to a screeching halt when one of my sister's skirts unfortunately fell down around her ankles during a live performance. The humiliation she felt was grand and that incident was the end to that tradition. There were too many skirts for my mother to make and not enough time or elastic apparently!
My maiden name is O'Brien and I have always loved my name. It was a part of my identity and I would like to believe it opened a few doors in my life to grander opportunities and helped form friendships along the way. Most mornings throughout high school, I heard, "Top o' the mornin' to ya, Angela Kelly O'Brien in an exaggerated Irish brogue." It never got old and usually brought a smile to my face.
When I moved to St. Paul during college, I experienced firsthand how may Irish people lived there and welcomed me with open arms. The first few jobs I had in college and right out of college, I had been hired by Irish bosses. I know being Irish and having O'Brien as a last name helped me get hired. I didn't want to give up the name O'Brien when I got married so I added a hyphen to my name to join my last name with my husband's...O'Brien-Greywitt.
I used to jokingly say that I was 75% Irish. After having my DNA tested through Ancestry.com, I found out that I am actually 76% Irish, and the rest is English, Scottish and a small percentage of Western European descent. I wasn't far off the mark...my first results reported that I was 76% Irish, but as more and more people around the world got their DNA tested, it altered my results as well. Currently my DNA says that I am 50% Irish. It doesn't really matter. I am what I am and knowing the results didn't change me.
The Irish have a full and rich history and I am part of it. They are a beautiful, feisty, and friendly people. They have traditions filled with truths, lore, triumph and tragedy. I have visited Ireland, but did not get the opportunity to kiss the infamous Blarney stone at Blarney Castle. It has been on my bucket list since I was in the 7th grade and first heard of it. Some day, I shall return to the old sod and hang backwards and upside down by my feet in order to kiss it once and for all! Covid and germs be damned! Be not afraid Angela Kelly O'Brien...'tis going to happen...as my Irish cousins might say, "My right hand up to God!"
Several years ago my husband, his boss and wife, both Irish, and I took a trip to Ireland. We flew into Dublin and rented a car to tour parts of Ireland. Enniskillen, Northern Ireland was one of the places we stopped to visit because that is where my father was from and we went to meet a few of my relatives. We had a grand time and gathered up many stories on the trip to share when we got back home.
Ireland is known for its gorgeous, lush, green countryside. Where high, rugged, cliffs drop drastically down to meet the wild, sea below. Green fields with sheep grazing upon the hills and valleys. A few times the sheep stopped traffic on the lane as they slowly crossed the road to gain access to another field. It is good to pause and slow down. Thank you kindly sheep, for the reminder.
Ancient cottages with lace curtains and flower pots added to the personality and charm of Ireland. The country grounds are parceled off and edged with stone walls. There are primeval castles and churches next to timeworn graveyards that dot the rolling landscapes and conjure up thoughts of spirits, fairies, leprechauns, and rainbows with pots of gold.
Driving down the skinny lanes and roads was adventurous and took some getting used to while visiting Ireland. They drive on the left side of the road and we drive on the right. It was all a bit disconcerting. Everything was opposite from what I had known. We kept turning on the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal...which of course did not help any vehicles driving behind us. The hedgerow growing on the side of the roads scraped the windows of our rental car as we hugged the far left side of the tiny roads barely missing the oncoming cars and lorries speeding towards us.
The people we met were friendly and they were well versed in their history and were not afraid to discuss it with this lass and entourage from America over a pint of Harp. The community found within the local pubs was inspiring.
I drink in and celebrate the books and poetry written by famous Irish writers like Jonathon Swift, William Yeats, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and John Donohue, to name just a few. One of my favorite books, is Anam Cara, a book written by the late John O'Donohue. He writes beautifully of the ancient culture...anam means soul in Gaelic and cara means friend. You share your innermost heart and soul with your anam cara. We are born with a wellspring of love within us. When you trust in it you are able to access the awakening of it as you invite it in. Take quiet time, perhaps before you sleep, "...focus on the well at the root of your soul. Imagine that nourishing stream of belonging, ease, peace, and delight." He speaks my language.
The Gaelic language and the Irish brogues are lyrical to listen to. Oral traditions shared through the telling of stories or sung in the songs are time honored traditions and magical. The Irish are a mystical group. St. Patrick's Day can be celebrated in other ways besides getting pissed.
Ireland, like many countries were invaded throughout the ages by many. Romans, Vikings, Spanish, and the English among others. Everything shapes us and we don't always know why, how or where things originate. The threads and tapestries of our lives are intertwined in our DNA. Every race of people has experienced similar invasions of their lands, homes, cultures at one time or another. We are more alike and connected to one another than we may ever know.
I raise my tea cup, and perhaps a pint of Harp later today, I say, Slainte to all." I send undiluted love, prayers, gratitude, and forgiveness to all as I pay homage to my Irish ancestors on this sunny, freezing cold, St. Patrick's Day in Minnesota. I am honored for the gifts I have been given that course through my DNA and the very blood in my veins. Stay safe out there tonight wherever and however you celebrate. I leave you all with an Irish blessing.
A Friendship Blessing
May you be blessed with good friends.
May you learn to be a good friend to yourself.
May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where
there is great love, warmth, feeling, and forgiveness.
May this change you.
May it transfigure that which is negative, distant, or cold in you.
May you be brought into the real passion, kinship, and affinity of belonging.
May you treasure your friends.
May you be good to them and may you be there for them;
may they bring you all the blessings, challenges, truth,
and light that you need for your journey.
May you never be isolated.
May you always be in the gentle nest of belonging
with your anam cara.
P.S. Reminder this coupon code is for a limited time only. To receive the phenomenal LUCK OF THE IRISH 50% discount add this coupon code - STPADDY50 - to your purchase of an Intuitive Writing Session valid for purchases between March 17 and April 17, 2023.