A hearty greeting on Saint Paddy's Day! And an Irish Blessing, too.
For such a small country, Ireland has certainly dispersed its countrymen far-and-wide. Most of this, of course, reflects the Emerald Isle's tortured history—and the need for the much-oppressed Irish to seek better conditions and futures. Isn't that the reason most people move far from home? Two of my grandparents, barely out of their teens, left their humble dairy farms in Ireland to seek work in Boston. My grandmother was a domestic servant and my grandfather was a delivery boy, eventually becoming a postman. (They met because she lived on his route.) I often reflect on the hardship my forebears endured to carve-out lives in a country that didn't really want them. Their sacrifices are the reason I am here today. I ask my fellow Irish-Americans, likewise, to never forget how very difficult it is for poor immigrants to get a footing in this country (even and especially today).
Ireland is a ravishingly beautiful country. But landscapes and vistas cannot be brought-along in steerage. So what has Ireland contributed to the world? Not cuisine, I am certain (that would be the French). Nor style & fashion, either (l leave that to Italy). And it isn't engineering, order and precision which distinguish the Irish (safely the domain of the Germans). Truly, Ireland's greatest contribution to the world is remarkable storytelling: literature, poetry, conversation, theatre and song. Word-smithing. And, perhaps, good whiskeys and beers, too. (Which are often found close-at-hand to those storytellers.)
In Kenneth Branagh's film, Belfast, one character comments, "The Irish were born for leaving." This maxim holds-true in my family. My grandparents left Ireland, fully expecting to never go back again. My grandmother did visit twice; my grandfather never did. My parents, born in Boston, married and moved 5,000 miles West to Hawaii. For college, I moved to New England and eventually settled in New York (for 27 years). And, speaking of big moves, it was on this day, five years ago, that we moved into our new home in Pittsburgh—another dramatic and physically challenging move (household and business).
Today, let's celebrate Ireland—and all that is green. The Arts & Crafts vase, shown above, wears its handsome green glaze with pride. It is signed, "Ross," a name I do not recognize. I presume it is a artistic "studio" piece, made in the last quarter of the Twentieth Century. While the provenance is murky, the result is terrific. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.
Éirinn go Brách!
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