Posts tagged with: Irish

Love Letter to Ireland

I miss my homeland.

What, you might say? You miss Kentucky? The States? Your favorite McDonald’s and Diet Coke?

Nope, I’m talking about the land of 3/4 of my ancestors….Eire. Ireland. The Emerald Isle. My heart.

It’s been six years since my last visit. SIX YEARS! That is way too long, inexcusable considering I spent the first 2/3 of my life not even imagining I would ever visit. The budget is being cruel and alas, it will be a while yet before I return.

But I yearn for my ancestral home.Ireland 08 043

My first visit started out in a stunned state. We de-barked at Shannon Airport to a cold, cloudy, dreary landscape and I could only think “I spent thousands of dollars for THIS?”

Then we left the airport. Dear. God. In. Heaven. It was as if the spirit of the isle reached into my heart and soul and hugged me. As corny as it sounds, I knew I was home. It only got better from there. So here are some of the things I have been missing:

1. The earth. The sky. The rivers. The coast. The rocks. The birds. The flora, the fauna. The sheep. The sun as it breaks out over stone wall lined pastures after a soft rain. There is a richness to sol’s rays there that does NOT exist anywhere else. And the lakes! Blue is to bland a word to describe the beauty of the water. I’m not a hiker by nature but I tell you walking in the woods there? I knew…just KNEW that if I sat on a log I would become one with the earth. Ahem…I also firmly believed that if I looked under the right rhododendron bush, I’d find the King of the Fae 😀

Ireland 08 063

2. The Irish spirit. Ya gotta admire a people so resilient. They meet their challenges and either beat the crap out of them or dance around them. The honor those who have gone before them, respect those who suffered and then thumb their noses at the cause. Every meal includes the potato in some form or fashion and one particular eatery in Killarney…seriously…served potaotes FIVE ways! Roasted, mashed, chips, boiled, added to pasta.

3. The history. Yeah, in the States you have to go through park gateways to see a lot of our infant past. In Ireland, you drive down the highway and past castles, cemeteries hundreds of years old, thatched cottages that invaders missed (Ha!). It’s just part of life there. Part of who and what the people, the land are. All of it right next door to a McDonald’s that serves the apple pie crusted in sugar with REAL clotted cream!

4. The people. Especially the musicians who play in the pubs. These people are transformed as they play ballads, jigs reels. They connect with another sphere of life as they play the fiddle, the bodrhan (my fav), pipes even spoons. I was only feet away watching an older guy play spoons with his eyes closed as he felt the life of the song. Oh and of course the black-haired, blue-eyed stone mason I oogled…er, watched at work on the Ring of Kerry. Momentous time that lead to the premise of my upcoming paranormal Guardian Isle series.

I could go on and on. While I can’t quite make it back right now, I always have the promise that, just like it has for an eternity, home will always be there for me.

What about you? Have you experienced anything similar in your travels? Have you been to Ireland and what do you miss?Ireland 08 014


The Irish Experience

by Christie Kelley

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Since I blog on the 17th of every month, each year I get the honor of writing something about St. Patrick’s Day. Being ¾ Irish (in case you couldn’t figure that out by my last name), it is an honor and privilege to write about my ancestry. This year, instead of writing about St. Patrick, I though it might be nice to talk about the Irish in America.

In 1845, 75% of the potato crop was devastated by the potato blight. This was more than just a crop that the farmers sold for money. This was their food. The potato made up the majority of their nutrition. People ate them for three meals a day and some references stated that the Irish men ate between 12-14 pounds of potatoes a day!

So when the famine hit, these poor uneducated people had nothing. Approximately, 1 million people died during the famine years of 1845-1852. But another million left Ireland, hoping for a better life in a new country. Most headed to the US, Canada and Australia. Unlike other emigrations, women were just as likely to leave as men.

Once they arrived in the US, instead of heading back to farms, they stayed in cities and found poverty and terrible conditions in tenements. Desperate for work, they took the jobs no one else wanted. They built bridges, railroads, became servants, and worked in mines. But they taught their children the value of an education so their children wouldn’t be stuck in the same jobs. Over the next few generations, the Irish moved into the fire and police departments, and in major cities worked to get their candidates elected into office.

I’m proud of my Irish heritage. My relatives left Ireland and settled in upstate New York as factory workers. My great-grandfather became a renowned eye, ears, nose and throat specialist with offices in New York City and upstate.

Today, we celebrate more than St. Patrick’s Day. We celebrate our Irish traditions, and I will be making corned beef and potatoes for dinner. I never learned the Irish dances but several of my nieces have taken lessons and participated in competitions in Ireland. One day soon, I make a trip to Ireland.

I leave you with an Irish blessing:

May love and laughter light your days,
and war
m your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peac
e and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

If you’re Irish, what does St. Patrick’s Day mean to you? If not, I’d love to hear about your heritage and special customs. And if you’re been Ireland, tell us about it!

The Luck of the BB

Sure and it’s a wonderful day when the Banditas give out another prize. With the help of the leprechaun leader, the winner of an Irish themed gift is:


Step dance your way over to The Lair, lass. Ok, send instead your snail mail addy to JoanieT13 AT gmail DOT com

A Wee Bit ‘O The Green

Ok, so you HAD to know that I would blog about this topic. No? Really? I find it hard to believe. Every one of the Banditas and a majority of the BB’s know my feelings on this topic:

I mean I debated and I thought and I considered what I would blog about today and there was no fighting it. In 4 days the celebration most iconic to my heritage, St. Patrick’s Day begins and I gotta start now.

One year ago I was a month away from my trip to the Emerald Isle. Those memories are enough to spark the longing to return again but then a friend has asked me to help her and her fiance plan their two week honeymoon there. Their honeymoon! In Ireland! Without me!!!

All right, I’ll admit that would be a bit much to ask (they even turned down my offer to chaueffer) but coupled with a recent travelouge on PBS I’m burning up with Ireland fever. It is a physical ache deep in my chest. Ireland is calling to me. What? You don’t hear the faint beat of the bodhran? The whisper of the lush green hills, the rolling rivers? The whoosh of a Guiness being pulled?

In an effort to stave off my impulse to call in sick for a month and hop the nearest Aer Lingus flight I’m re-creating my Christmas quiz extravaganza with one of me own. How much do you know about the Emerald Isle? Take the quiz and find out.

1. When did the Republic of Ireland gain its independence?

2. What was the first written language of Ireland called?
3. What do the colors in the Irish flag represent?
4. What was the name of the hill upon which sat the Irish high king?
5. What year did the Romans invade Ireland? What did they call Ireland?
6. How many times has Joanie T visited? 🙂
7. Have you ever seen a leprechaun?
One lucky poster will win a pot of gold….or equally suitable gift from the local Irish store 🙂