People who were born of pure Irish blood lines and grew up in Ireland are what I call the purebred Irish. It wasn’t until I immigrated to Canada at the age of 28 that I realized there were so many Irish descendants outside of Ireland.
The population of Ireland is 4,757,976 people, according to the 2016 Irish Government census; but the Irish diaspora is estimated to be 50 to 80 million people around the world who have Irish forebears; making the Irish diaspora one of the biggest of any nation.
Every year on March 17th, the whole world goes green, not just the island of Ireland, to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with energy and excitement!
St. Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival by the Irish diaspora, especially in Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand.
People take to the streets in Ireland dressed as leprechauns for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
St. Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland and he is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.
Most of what is known about him comes from his two works; the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians.
According to different versions St. Patrick and his life story, it is said that he was born in Britain, around 385 AD. As a boy of 14 he was captured and taken to Ireland where he spent six years in slavery herding sheep. He later returned to Ireland in his 30s as a missionary among the Celtic pagans.
It is popular belief that St. Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland; the story says that while St. Patrick was fasting, snakes attacked him, so he chased all snakes into the ocean. However, there have never been snakes in Ireland during the post-glacial period. The absence of snakes and symbolism involved with snakes is believed to explain the story, although it could have been referring to a type of worm rather than snakes.
Real Leprechauns. Photo Marie Conboy
The most widely-seen St. Patrick's Day symbols are the colours green and the shamrock, which is thought to bring good luck. So where ever you are this St. Patrick’s Day, if you have Irish heritage or a drop of Irish blood in you, celebrate and remember it.
For me being Irish is a quick wit and wicked sense of humor, a closeness of family, a sense of pride and ambition, a fondness for a party, an ability of all things creative and a love of words and talking.