If You're Irish, Come Into the Contemplative Parlour

Did I ever tell you that I’m three-quarters Irish?  Well, it’s true.  My mother was Irish on both sides of her family, and my father on one side of his.  Many’s the time I heard the story of how my maternal grandmother came to Canada crammed on a cattleboat; God only knows how the rest of them arrived.  We were afraid to ask.   🙂  My great-grandmother loved to scare all the wee ones with horrid tales of fairies taking babies and ghost-stories right before bedtime.  Apparently any visitor who annoyed her would be ushered to the door which was shut quickly behind them as she called out, “Peace be with you,”, which my mother told me sounded much more like a curse than it should have.  🙂

Though we were raised as practicing Catholics, I never really knew anything about St. Patrick other than that he drove the snakes out of Ireland and taught the pagans about the Holy Trinity using a shamrock.  All my life I pretty much pictured him as a leprechaun.

When I was little, St. Patty’s Day was one of the best days of the year.  My house had the piano, so we had the party.  And what a party it was.  All of my aunts and uncles and their wives and husbands and near to fifty of my first-cousins (yes, I said fifty first-cousins) crowded into our little dining room, with the piano, the banjos, the fiddles, the accordians, the eats, the drinks, the singing, the dancing, the laughter, and the smoke.  I am so happy that I have these memories.

It wasn’t until I first started blogging in 2006 that I heard about St. Patrick’s Breastplate, and then a couple of years ago I heard a lovely version of it sung by what sounded like angels (this was on one of the podcasts done by Pray-As-You-Go, but I wasn’t able to find out who the performers were).  Then by chance last evening as I was looking at some YouTubes on St. Patrick, I found that someone had uploaded it! 

So Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone; may you be blessed, safe and happy today.
Sincerely, McGabrielle


8 thoughts on “If You're Irish, Come Into the Contemplative Parlour

  1. Even all the online folks I know are part Irish or Celtic in some strain, and here’s what I say: If you go to Ireland one day, which ought to be mandatory for all, visit the Ring of Kerry hush (go sit with the hillside cows and colourful sheep) long enough to understand the phrase “a God-breathed land,” and then go anywhere but particularly to a little carvery or pub where Irish people are gathered, and see if “Cead Mile Failte” holds true. Like your grandmother, Gab, Irishfolk are not shy. I’m so glad you have those memories.

  2. Here’s a question,Gabrielle, does being 100% Irish naturally entitle one to 100% of the fun? I’m away to find out…have a great day all of you percenters big and small.

  3. Thanks all, and Ann – I’d say you’re entitled to 300% (100 for being fully Irish, 100 for still living in Ireland, and 100 for finding time to visit anybody’s blog on St. Patrick’s Day!) 🙂

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