Friday, March 17, 2017

St. Patrick's Day 2017

Thank Airmed It's Friday!

"No, there are no healing herbs that can remove your pain. Sorry."

Melancholy, Baby...

Countryside near Galway

I'm another year older, meaning it has become yet more unlikely that I'll ever have the opportunity to actually visit Ireland. What makes me sad about that is that it is due almost entirely to my own foolish reluctance to fly, which has only recently gone into remission.

I'm also melancholy today because March 17 is my mother's birthday (there is surely no cooler birth date to have for someone as Irish as my mom). She's been gone nearly 21 years now, and there isn't a single day that goes by when I don't miss her. It is a source of great sadness to me that she died before digital cameras and smartphones were a part of my life. I do not own a single picture of her, digital or conventional...

"Do you think she could cheer you up if she were here?" the very least, she would have some good advice about how I might try to fix the problem...and merely talking with her about it might just give me the courage
I need to face the situation...

Feast Day

Statue at Hill of Tara, in County Meath, Ireland
Even non-Catholics know that St. Patrick, whose feast we celebrate today, is the patron of Ireland. Not many know that
he was not, in fact, Irish. He was born in Roman Britain in 387 A.D.

Patrick spent six years in captivity in Ireland after being taken as a slave by Irish raiders when he was 14 years old. Upon being reunited with his family back in Britain, Patrick had a vision which led him to study for the priesthood.

In 433 he was ordained a bishop and sent to Ireland to carry the gospel there, a task at which he excelled. He is commonly portrayed holding a shamrock because he famously used one to illustrate the concept of the Holy Trinity.

On March 17, 461 after nearly thirty years of service to the faith, Patrick died at Saul (where he had built the first Irish church). He is buried on the grounds of the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, also known as Down Cathedral, in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland.

Baking Therapy

I am still miserably sick this morning, so it seems unlikely that
I will be enjoying my traditional Guinness or Redbreast today.

If I feel up to it later on, though,
I am hopeful of trying an Irish soda bread recipe published recently by Elizabeth Scalia, a noted Catholic author and blogger.

This recipe has gotten some rave reviews from people I respect, and it seems simple enough that even I can manage. None of the grocery store bakeries in my area seem
to have a clue about how to make proper Irish soda bread, so perhaps it is time I took matters into my own culinary hands. There will be photos in tomorrow's entry if I'm able to accomplish the task...

"Save some for me!"

You don't even have teeth, dummy...

You Got a Problem With That?

From the pen of John Wagner, whose Maxine is a best-selling character for Hallmark.

Until Next Time...

Growing up in a large Irish family there was always plenty of Irish music being played on special occasions, especially St. Patrick's Day. Over the years I have amassed quite
a collection of such musical artists and groups myself, but I'm always on the lookout for new material. I often make pleasant discoveries of this kind when doing searches for a particular Irish song on Amazon.

One relatively recent discovery
is Irish folk group The High Kings,
an ensemble formed in 2008 which has released a handful of highly acclaimed recordings, including three which placed No.3 or higher on Billboard's World Music charts.

Their eponymous debut album in 2008 was a deft blend of original material and traditional Gaelic songs. All four members of the group are accomplished musicians, but their vocal harmonies are the real treat for me.

One of my favorites on the album is the Irish folk song "Ar Éireann Ní Neosainn Cé hÍ," traditionally sung first in Gaelic and then in English. Since it is a song about a romantic relationship that "never could be," and someone who "vanished forever" from the singer's life, it is hitting me like 
a wrecking ball right now.

Today's send-off is the quartet's achingly beautiful rendition of the song, from their YouTube channel. Enjoy...

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