Today is (or yesterday was, to be more precise, since I’m having to burn the midnight oil to write this!) St Patrick’s Day. The card pictured above plopped onto our welcome mat to remind us of that fact… and our Irishness… While some of our Irish friends are loud and proud patriots, both my husband and I take a somewhat more muted approach to the celebration of our nationality.
My husband was born in Australia and spent the first 10 years of his life Down Under. When his Irish parents suddenly decided to move the family back to the Emerald Isle permanently, a combination of the upheaval to his young existence and the predominantly gloomy weather left him disgruntled.
For my part, much like a child who imagines they were adopted and their real parents are actually royalty, I liked to visualise myself living somewhere else, (preferably France… more on my Francophilia at a later date!) somewhere bigger, more exiting and sophisticated.
So when we found each other we resolved to fulfill our dreams and move abroad. Once settled, however, and especially since the children came along, we began – almost predictably – to pine for home.
More frequent home visits (thanks to a certain budget airline!) were booked and I would find myself wandering down the world foods aisle in Tesco to pick up red lemonade and soda bread. I became obsessed with The Script and a certain current Irish TV personality/ musician named Bressie (probably a topic for another day 😉). Hours were spent trawling You Tube for clips of Irish TV shows from my childhood: The Den with Zig and Zag, Scrap Saturday, Bosco, Glenroe, The Late Late with Gay Byrne to name but a few… We then began to search for newer shows that we had missed out on while abroad… revelling in the comforting familiarity of it all… Until one day I had that light bulb moment when I realised that nationality is much like family; it is so deeply ingrained in our psyche that we might not always appreciate it but, should anyone else from outside the fold dare to criticise it, we will defend it until the very bitter end.
So Happy St Patrick’s Day, one and all!