Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit

For those of you unfamiliar with the Gaelic, the translation of the title of this post is of course "Happy St. Patrick's Day to You". And on this day when many of you will be 'wearin' the green', contributing to the Irish economy through the consumption of one of Ireland's greatest exports ... Guinness (if not partaking of a wee dram of Irish whiskey, which in fact Irish monks invented), and celebrating the day of this Irish saint .... my thanks.  

St. Patrick is actually quite curious as a Patron saints, or even Irish saints go. Curious because he was in fact British (not a favorite nationality on the Emerald Isle), and only came to Ireland in chains the first time as a captured slave (often held to be the favorite way for the Irish to treat their eastern neighbors). He escaped that captivity however after six years, and returned to his home in Britain, eventually becoming a deacon, priest, and later a bishop. He returned to Ireland as a missionary, working mostly in the north and the west of the island. 

While little is known of most of the places that he actually worked, and though the diocesan model of the Catholic church that he worked for did not come about as a result of his labors; he was nevertheless named the Patron Saint of Ireland by the eighth century. As for the myths surround him, though credited with using the shamrock to describe the Holy Trinity in converting the heathen Celts of the Emerald Isle, such stories did not surface until centuries after his death, and are likely fabrication. Likewise, while St. Patrick is credited with chasing the snakes from Ireland, the truth of the matter is that this would have been a rather simple task, since there never were snakes in Ireland. Regardless of the truth of the situation and the fact that he was never formally canonized by the Catholic Church, we celebrate him on March 17th, believed to be the day of his death in 493.  

While all of this is reason enough for honoring the day, I will be once again be likewise celebrating the birthday of my youngest granddaughter. Margaret Ruth Tipatina Demaria turns three today, and has received a crystal angelfish from the city of Waterford from her old grandad to commemorate the occasion. 

With luck, she will get to see the parade in New York City today, as well as have a bit of left over cake from the party that was had this last weekend. Whereas I will have to content myself with a quiet pint or two at a local pub, followed perhaps by a wee bit of the creature, a call to the birthday girl, and a cigar upon my return to the Higgins Manor of Toledo.  

I hope each of you gets a chance for some kind of celebration on this day when all are gloriously Irish. I hope each of you, as you raise a glass to the Irish in general and St Patrick in particular, will likewise raise a glass at some point in your evening to that young flower of Irish heritage, Maggie Moo Demaria on the day of her birth. I hope each of you will enjoy the blessing of St. Patrick for the coming year. In honor of that sentiment, I offer you my true Irish toast:  

"May you be in heaven for two hours before the devil knows you're dead. "



patrick said...

And indeed:

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit

to you and thanks for your excellent post on St. Patrick's Day.

With best wishes,

Patrick Young
(yes, the self-same Patrick Young, Irishman, financier and writer as quoted in your "Quotations of the Week").

Tim Higgins said...

Honored and flattered indeed am I to be receiving a comment from so esteemed a person as yourself. Such a comment truly makes it a grand St. Patrick's Day for your humble admirer.

Hooda Thunkit said...


Happy St. Patrick's Day to ya my friend!

Don't forget to tip one for me ;-)

Tim Higgins said...


Tipping one for you is the least that I can do and something I am rapidly becoming famous for.

Consider it done.

Roland Hansen said...

And an Irish toast, French toast, and Melba toast to you as well, my green impish friend.

I sit here in Payson, Arizona this evening after having chased all the shakes out of the Mogollon Rim country and having had my Jiggs dinner at the Cedar Ridge Restaurant of the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino.

Might I also add a very special happy birthday greeting to your granddaughter, Margaret Ruth Tipatina Demaria. I wish that she have a long and healthy and happy life. May she live to be 120.

Incidentally, your summarization of St. Patrick's Day is the best I've ever read. Thank you, Sir Timothy; you're a real saint. Now, a tip of the beer mug into my dry awaiting mouth so that it may be filled with the lovely green tinted brew.

Tim Higgins said...


Thank you for the compliment and the sentiment. Both as always, are appreciated.

As to the toast thing...
Irish, of course. French, acceptable since Pernod owns Irish Distillers Group who produces most of the Irish whiskey in the world. Melba, sorry I have performed the required research and cannot find their flag. As Edddie Izzard says, "No flag, no country."

Roland Hansen said...

No country for Melba toast?!!!
Gee, Australia has a connection as shown on its currency and the United States has some kind of connection as it relates to Sarah Palin.

kck_kat said...

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit-belatedly, of course! I was earning my keep yesterday and did no celebrating, but plan to remedy that on Thursday evening. As for marking the day, hard to believe Princess Maggie has turned 3. You know, with her name, should Irish Royalty ever return to Ireland, she has got to be a shoe in!

Tim Higgins said...


Princess she may be in some of our hearts, but I fear that her pedigree would be held against her in any line of succession.