Happy St. Patrick’s Day from California.
How to celebrate Paddy’s Day
#1. Sleep late. Sure, isn’t it a holiday? Have rashers and eggs for breakfast with some brown bread and tea. Send an ecard to a friend http://www.irishcorner.com/ecardapp.php?theme_id=2&image_id=808
#2. Use a few Irish words with people you meet such as Conas atá tú? kunus ataw too? How are you? and the answer Iontach eentok Wonderful. Pass on that knowledge ♥.
#3. Get some energy into you with spuds and cabbage and real Irish sausages (try an import shop). Read about and watch the video of John O Riley below. Feel the knowledge.
#4. Then go out and see or join a parade. Wear something green, preferably some shamrock.
#5. After that find a céilí (kaylee) and join in the dancing. Set dancing is great if you can find a local group http://www.setdancingnews.net/
#6. Finish out the day with a great Irish movie of your choice
Historical: Micheal Collins
Romantic: Once (If you are near Broadway, go see Once, the musical)
Comedy: The Guard
#7. Sleep soundly, codladh sámh (kula sawv) ☺ and may you dream in Irish.
Lesson of the day: John O Riley’s story and the Irish soldiers of Mexico
Back in 1846 John O Riley/ John Riley (Seán Ó Raghallaigh) crossed an ocean to escape from the misery of a famine. He also fled oppression by the British in Ireland in the form of the occupation of his country, religious persecution and an attempt to wipe out his culture. When he arrived in America he signed up to “serve” his new country but discovered that meant doing to others what the British occupiers had done to his people back home.
So he did the right thing and formed his battalion The San Patricios. They were the underdogs in the U.S. invasion and occupation of Mexico (most commonly and misleadingly referred to as the Mexican-American War). O Riley fought the good fight but lost. Because of that his name is often left out of our history books.
Battle of Churubusco
American forces hang the San Patricios and force them to watch the American flag being raised on Mexican territory.
March to Battle
Lyrics narrated by Liam Neeson
We are the San Patricios, a brave and gallant band
There’ll be no white flag flying within this green command
We are the San Patricios, we have but one demand,
To see the Yankees safely home across the Rio Grande…
We’ve disappeared from history like footprints in the sand
But our song is in the tumbleweeds and our love is in this land
But if in the desert moonlight you see a ghostly band
We are the men who died for freedom across the Rio Grande.
O Riley hailed from Clifden where the Irish language is still spoken and so TG4, the excellent Irish language TV channel, produced this program about him http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rEdaZipKGA Do watch it both for the content and for the Irish you will hear spoken. John O Riley is an important historical figure and his story is worth the telling.
Long after O Riley’s death some Americans made the journey across the ocean in the other direction from America to Ireland and make history too as in 1919 Alcock and Brown landed near Clifden (O Riley’s home town) completing the first transatlantic flight.
Clifden, Connemara, Ireland
But today, on St. Patrick’s Day I raise a glass to John O Riley and to the San Patricios. For those who want a more catchy version of the story in pub singing style here it is:
Ah the power of oral tradition, best served with a pint. Sláinte (Slawnte) To your heath.