Encyclopedia of Islands

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Ireland Celebrates

With the origin being Ireland it is obvious that the Day is also holiday there, as it is here in the US.But In Ireland, it is more of a religious holiday similar to Christmas and Easter. With grand parades, community feasts, charity show, the mass, St Patrick´s Day is celebrated in Ireland. The parades, shamrocks, and green beer are provided primarily for tourists. In fact, it has turned out to be one of the most celebrated events in Ireland and a major tourist attraction.

So many places in Ireland embody a powerful attraction, I found, that reaching a destination often involves an act of pilgrimage. It may be organized, as when fervent Catholics pour in by bus and plane to the village of Knock in County Mayo, where in 1879 the Virgin Mary was said to have appeared. Or the journey may be a private bow of recognition, as when literary pilgrims travel to the Norman keep of Thoor Ballylee where Yeats wrote poetry, or to the Martello Tower on the Dublin coast where James Joyce briefly lived and where a museum to his work stands.

Ireland Selebrates

Horse dealers haggle over ponies (below), while a buyer and seller (opposite) discuss a white-blaze chestnut at the Puck Fair in the town of Killorglin. Customarily, a middleman brings horse traders together, the slapping of hands punctuates the negotiations, and a pat of earth on the horse´s hindquarters shows that a bargain has been struck. Horses have excited passions in Ireland ever since the Celts introduced their favorite sport, horse racing. Today, 30 racetracks across the island attract crowds, and unofficial races, "flapper meetings," spring up in the countryside.

Despite all these varieties, all are driven by a unique theme: be an Irish day. It´s a celebration for being Irish and enjoying things Irish. While it reminds us about St Patrick. It also tells us to be Irish. With shamrocks and the leprechaun. As it tells us to cook and feast the Irish way. To laugh away all worries with Irish jokes. Dance to the tunes of the Irish bands. Try out the Irish words. And with all these the Day lets us know the real fun of being Irish.