>Kiss me, I’m Irish!

>St. Patrick’s Day is one of the holidays that people have taken as a spring board into another reason for excessive drinking, but the history of this day makes it a good holiday in my estimation. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of spending my spring break in Ireland. It was a one week study abroad, gave me credit, and a justifiable trip across the pond. My grandmother is Irish and she and my aunt have both spent some time there. I had seen their pictures and knew the country side was extraordinary. I also knew the rudimentary history of the politics–which was the class that was conducting the study abroad trip.
We flew into Dublin and spent the first part of the week there. We toured the city, noting the parliament buildings-both original and new, the statues that littered the city of it’s history and struggle and drank in the classic European architecture. Despite this incredible city, my favorite part was when we ventured to Northern Ireland. The war is still going on in Belfast. The city are divided and there are murals across the town to depict different opinions and triumphs. The tragedy is evident in the fencing that separates the city, in the billet holes that are embedded in the schools and walls across town. They are striving to be heard and understood, despite the gang like violence that still echos down each street.
We also traveled to Derry and toured the city known for the destruction of Bloody Sunday. It was a peaceful rally for freedom that turned into a literal blood bath. They have a museum that memorializes the events and the lives that were lost that others may gain their freedom.
It was a sobering trip that I treasure. The light of it all is that it concluded on St. Patrick’s Day. Even as we traveled back to Dublin, we got to see parades all across the country, both small and large, celebrating this day. And yes, there was green beer. But more importantly, I got to see a piece of my heritage and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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