March came and went, and with it came also St Patrick's Day, which - in case you didn't know - happens on the 17th of March.
What is St Patrick's day?
St Patrick's day has been celebrated officially since the early 17th century, and is done so to commemorate St Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, but also to celebrate the heritage and culture of the Irish. I now read that it is celebrated in more countries than any other national holiday, obviously because the Irish people are spread around the world because of its sad history of famine and emigration, and if that wasn't enough, Irish people were also deported from Ireland to Australia as prisoners of war, or because they didn't follow the laws of the British, who at the time thought they owned the country and wanted to exterminate all things Irish.
BUT it's also celebrated in many countries where there is an interest in Irish culture, or perhaps because people want a reason to party.
St Patrick's Day may be abbreviated as St Paddy's day but PLEASE not St Patty's. Patty is an abbreviation of the female name Patricia, nothing else. It's St Patrick's Day, St Paddy's day, or just Paddy's day.
It's a day when people go out on the streets, dressed in green, bearing flags, to celebrate their country and culture. It's a nice family holiday but there are also wild parties here and there, especially in the big cities.
Most towns have their own parade, and we even had a small parade in our little village, with some villagers marching on the short little street singing songs like "Fields of Athenry", "Green leafed shamrock" and "All hail St Patrick". We were invited by the lovely pub owner to bring some music, so we had guitar and fiddle with us. It was so cold that my fingers went numb while playing that guitar, but it was great fun!
But before that, we went to Clonakilty to see the parade, and join the trad session afterwards.
This fella on the bike is a good friend of ours, and the grand-grandchild of James Joyce.
The following is about the long continued flood prevention road works that have closed the Ring Road for 8+ months. They're (among other things) building a wall to prevent the road to be flooded from tidal waters. Good thing of course, but the road being closed for so long has been a big problem for people in Ring (which is a little village just outside Clonakilty), and of course for the businesses there.
Since two weeks or so, the road is actually open! The opinions about the new road are not great.. but I hope it will benefit the area in the long run.
The parade in our little town features and promotes local activities, schools and businesses, but also organisations like West Cork Rapid Response (which I didn't see in the parade this year but they're usually there) which is a voluntary emergency service, the lifeboat service, West Cork underwater search & rescue, Red Cross, and similar.
This group of kids playing tunes is usually there after the parade, to entertain.
Some hour after the parade, there's a very lively trad session in the central hotel pub, where loads of people gather after the parade, especially on cold days (which usually happens on St Patrick's Day, although this year was actually much better).
This year we left the session quite early to go back to our little village to join the parade there, which also was finished in the little pub.
We had a lovely St Patrick's Day this year, and really felt we have come to live in the right place.