St. Patrick’s Day. March 17th. That most Irish of all holidays.
Most Americans know this as a day of merriment and of imbibing alcoholic beverages.
On that day, “the wearing of the green” – having on at least one item of green – is celebrated by large numbers of people, in many countries around the world.
Because my heritage is largely Irish, let me share a wee bit of Irish with you.
ON BEING “MONAGHAN”
Growing up Catholic, in the Midwest, we knew quite a few people who were Irish. Well, maybe not Irish as in “right off the boat,” but descendants of Irish immigrants. Our family fell in that category as well.
Though most don’t know this, there were a lot of Irish immigrants who came to North America from Ireland via Canada. The price of emigrating to Canada from Ireland was only 55 shillings, while the cost to go to the United States was nearly 100 shillings. This made the Canada trip much more affordable for those who were poorer.
My great-great-grandfather, Bernard, was one of those who emigrated from northern Ireland and made his way to Canada. Because of this Canadian-Monaghan connection, I’ve always had a soft spot for our “neighbors to the north.”
So to all of my Canadian friends, I bid you a hearty “Erin Go Bragh” (Ireland forever!).
From Canada, great-great-grandpappy – as I decided just now that I would call him – made his way down to Omaha, Nebraska. Which is where my grandfather, father, mother, and I were all born.
ANCIENT MONAGHAN (no, I’m not referring to me – thank you very much!!)
The Irish name Monaghan is derived from the Gaelic O’Manachain clan who were located in the area of County Roscommon. The name is taken from a Gaelic word representing a descendant of Manacháin (meaning ‘monk’).
I’m not sure how we could have descended from a clan meaning ‘monk’! Maybe that could be another post after a little more research!
The Monaghan motto is: “Felis demulcta mitis,” which is a latin translation of an Irish proverb meaning “the soothed cat is gentle.” The more common translation, which I prefer because it’s so fierce, is “Gentle in peace, fearless in war.”
FACTS ABOUT St. Patrick and St. Patrick’s Day
Interesting facts brought to you by my “bible” of knowledge – Wikipedia, of course! Other tidbits are from my crack research team (aka, me):
* St. Patrick’s Day typically represented the first day when drinking alcohol was allowed after the Lenten season. [No wonder people went crazy with drinking, eh?]
* The number of pints of Guinness beer consumed, worldwide per day, doubles on St. Patrick’s Day (to almost 13 million pints!).
* The Chicago River – in Chicago – is dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day. The dye fades after only a few hours.
* “Corned” beef & cabbage, a traditional food in America on St. Patrick’s Day, is not really eaten in Ireland. It’s called “corned” because of the corn-kernel sized pieces of salt that used to be used in the preserving process.