Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of the Irish out there, as well as those who are Irish in spirit.
Since my Mother’s maiden name was Kelley, I’m certainly blessed with substantial Irish genes, and at this time of the year they love to come out and dance a jig or two.
The photo above is of me and an Irish pooch on the west coast of Ireland in 2002 on the second of two trips I took to research two of my novels that take place in both Cleveland, where there was a large Irish community, and Ireland. I enjoyed writing both Whiskey Island and Parting Glass and reconnecting with my roots. If you’ve never been to Ireland, I highly recommend it. The people are incredibly friendly and the countryside is beautiful. While I spent most of my time in County Mayo because that’s where many Irish immigrants to Cleveland originated, I had no idea that some of my own family had come from the west of Ireland. But a recent 23 and Me analysis places some of my roots there, as well as in Cork, where an uncle said his Irish grandparents had lived.
I especially like the Irish blessings, the lilt of the language and the earthly imagery. I would like to share three of my favorites with you on this St. Patrick’s Day. I’m Irish. How could I choose only one?
May the blessing of the rain be on you—
the soft sweet rain.
May it fall upon your spirit
so that all the little flowers may spring up,
and shed their sweetness on the air.
May the blessing of the great rains be on you,
may they beat upon your spirit
and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there many a shining pool
where the blue of heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
May the good earth be soft under you
when you rest upon it,
and may it rest easy over you when,
at the last, you lay out under it,
And may it rest so lightly over you
that your soul may be out
from under it quickly,
and up, and off,
And be on its way to God.