Against famine and the crown…

15 03 2010

St. Patrick’s Day, for good and bad, is very intense holiday. Heaped atop its sacred origins — a celebration of the Christianization of Ireland and, as a result, much of barbarian western Europe — are all the Yankee-Paddy traditions: paper shamrocks, bad green beer, silly hats, “Kiss me I’m Irish” t-shirts, and hundreds of thousands of non-Irish celebrating their Irishness by getting pissed.

I’ve moved from celebrating the day with loads of beer and whiskey to a more quiet, contemplative family meal. It sounds lame to some, I’m sure, but for us the day is more about reflecting on the great Irish and Irish-American people that came before us, that gave us the opportunities we have today. Without those brave souls who knows what sort of life my wife, daughter and I would be leading (assuming we were here at all.)

Still, I can’t resist some of the trappings of the day. A guilty pleasure of mine is listening to Dropkick Murphys. It’s cliche, I know, especially if you’re Boston-area Irish. But the Murphys are irresistible high-octane, Gaelic punk, and the only time it’s really fitting to listen to them is this time of year. This song, “Fields of Athenry,” is an old Irish rebel tune and one of my favorites by DM.

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