Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Everybody Is Irish Today

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh or Happy St. Patrick's Day. I actually celebrated my Irish heritage on Sunday with the corned beef and cabbage and soda bread. Even though it is not really Irish it seems to have developed into an "Irish" thing here in the U.S. Most likely it got associated with the Irish back in the days when the Irish immigrated due to the potato famine(An Gorta Mór) in Ireland and settled in close proximity with the Jews in places such as New York and Boston. The typical Irish were too poor in Ireland to eat beef and when they did "ha'e meat" it was probably a pork joint. Cabbage and potatoes were a part of the regular fare though, at least until the Great Famine. If you have an opportunity to spend anytime in Ireland, especially out in the country, you will still see evidence of the disaster of the potato blight. Estimates are that a million Irish died from starvation and another million emigrated, mostly to the U.S. Most historians consider the famine(between 1845 and 1852) as a dividing line in Irish history. It surely changed Ireland forever and had a huge impact on America.

So today is a great day to celebrate the contributions made by our Irish ancestors to what American is today and even if you have no Irish blood.. today it is ok to pretend that you do.

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