March 17th

17 Mar

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St. Patrick’s Day works as my perfect excuse to parade around (pun intended) in an alcohol induced and prideful manner, and talk to (or at) everyone I know about the Emerald Isle, being Irish, Gaelic football, studying in Galway, Irish men, Irish music, Armagh, etc. I think you get the picture.

Ireland means a lot to me. I think about it nearly every single day. I’ve never felt more passionate about something in my life than I do for Ireland, its people, and its culture. I’m thankful to have been raised in a family that is so close to the homeland, and has made sure that the next generation feels the same way. St. Patrick’s Day has never been an easy holiday for the Rafferty clan. Each and every year we would trek into the city where the weather was usually horrible. More often than not the day ended with me unable to feel my toes, and waiting for what felt like eternity for Armagh to finally start our damn march down 5th avenue. Yet, while in the moment I was so miserable, I still look back on those days with fondness.

But if you know me you’ll know that these are already my feelings and they’ve probably annoyed you at one time or another. But this day isn’t even about the Irish. St. Patrick himself was British, and in fact enslaved in Ireland. Yet, even after escaping from Ireland, he returned years later as a Christian missionary and converted many of the Irish. In doing so much for the Irish people, St. Patrick was taken as the patron saint of Ireland and this day, the day of his death, is a celebration of religion, culture, and Ireland itself.

Nowhere in there does it say that this day is about being Irish. After years of angsty ramblings about people who pretend to be Irish, I’ve accepted and embraced the fact that it is true that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Why wouldn’t we want to share our culture with the rest of the world? This day is about the country of Ireland, and we should all appreciate Ireland and what it has given us.

For those of us who have an affinity towards Ireland, this is a day to remind ourselves (although most of us don’t need it) of how truly lucky we are. For those who have no relation to Ireland, it’s a day to feel a part of the finest and most outrageous culture out there. Whether you’re marching in NYC today, have spiked your morning coffee with Baileys, are getting drunk surrounded by a sea of green, or are counting down the hours until the day ends to enjoy a pint of Guinness and some Clancy Brothers, appreciate the country it all came from. Appreciate St. Patrick, a man who wasn’t Irish but did so much for Ireland. Enjoy it while you can America and the rest of the world, this is a holiday for all of us.

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