Lá Fhéile Pádraig

The day of the festival of (St) Patrick, Paddy’s day.

My daddy is called Patrick, so it has always been Daddy’s day too 🙂 He always sends us (me, my sister and all my cousins) a St Patrick’s Day card, ‘from the other Patrick’

The Irish Post Office invented St Patrick’s Day Cards in 1984 (although they very probably existed in America long before then) I used to collect stamps in 1984 so I have the Post office information leaflet about the postcards; a set of 6 prepaid postcards at 25p each, including airmail, to “enable Irish people to send postcards to their friends, at home and abroad”. I still have my first card from Dad, (Not the one below, but I like this one too)

Síochán means Peace in Irish

Síochán means Peace in Irish

When I was little we used to buy a sprig of shamrock, or a harp on a green ribbon and wear it to Mass on our coats. St Patrick’s Day is a Holy Day, so we had a day off school. We spent weeks rehearsing the Hymn;

Hail, glorious St. Patrick, dear saint of our isle,
On us thy poor children bestow a sweet smile;
And now thou art high in the mansions above,
On Erin’s green valleys look down in thy love.

Ever bless and defend the sweet land of our birth,
Where the shamrock still blooms as when thou wert on earth,
And our hearts shall yet burn, wherever we roam,
For God and St. Patrick, and our native home.

I can still hear the tune in my head on St Patrick’s day, even though it has probably been over 30 years since I sang it! When I was very small my dad worked in an office building in central Dublin, and we were able to see the St Patrick’s Day parade from the window of his office. It was a great vantage point, I still remember the red sloping linoleum floors and hanging out the window to see the parade. It almost always rains on Paddy’s day, so I don’t remember ever going to see it again after my dad’s company moved from those offices overlooking the route.

I don’t normally celebrate St Patrick’s day much apart from displaying a flag in the garden or out the car window, but occasionally I will go completely over the top and dress from head to toe in green. This fortunately is a very rare occurrence due to my aforementioned aversion to green!

Having recently returned from Ireland, I am feeling a little more patriotic than normal, so I wanted to pay homage to my Dad’s other special day this year by posting some of my memories of the day.  There was no green alcohol, or hair, or rivers.  I am not sure if people do that in Ireland now?  If you are Irish in Ireland, you don’t need to dress up for St Patrick’s day!  It’s a day off, you just drink!

In honour of St Patrick’s Day this year, Trinity College Dublin which houses the Book of Kells and Old Library Exhibition is opening the exhibition free to all visitors this Sunday 17th March.

The Book of Kells is a beautifully illustrated manuscript of the four Gospels of the New Testament. It is widely regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure. It was created by Celtic monks around 800AD or slightly earlier. It is a masterwork of western calligraphy. The Book contains the four Gospels in Latin based on the Vulgate text which St Jerome completed in 384AD, intermixed with readings from the earlier Old Latin translation. The Gospel texts are prefaced by other texts, including “canon tables”, or concordances of Gospel passages common to two or more of the evangelists; summaries of the gospel narratives; and prefaces characterizing the evangelists. The book is written on vellum (prepared calfskin) in a bold and expert version of the script known as “insular majuscule”. It contains 340 folios, now measuring approximately 330 x 255 mm; they were severely trimmed, and their edges gilded, in the course of rebinding in the 19th century.

I am considering buying the iPad app, but in the meantime I am satisfying myself with looking at the book online

About Barbara

Born in Dublin, living in London with Peter, my two daughters, Wilson our Spaniel & Woordow our Malshih (Shih Tzu-Maltese cross)
This entry was posted in Art, Daddies, Dublin, Families, Philately and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Lá Fhéile Pádraig

  1. Grannymar says:

    Beannachtaí agus siochan la le Phadraig lath. Bain taitneamh as an lá! –
    Blessings and peace of St. Patrick’s Day blessing upon you. Enjoy today!

    Our celebrations down the years seem so tame for our National Holiday compared to the hype today. I had a green bow for my hair and bunch of shamrock for my chest. For dinner we started with Nana’s soup* followed by a whole cooked ham with all the trimmings, and some part if dessert was a green jelly, although Nana always had a Christmas pudding saved for the day.

    This year in Dublin very other building has turned Green for the duration. Personally I think it looks silly, cheap and spoils the beautiful buildings for the viewer.

    *Do you remember Nana’s ‘brown’ soup? You eat it by the bowlful when you were little. We had Nana’s soup for Barbara and cheesecake – that never saw cheese – for Paddy!


    • Barbara says:

      I think the Irish Tourist Board are really trying their hardest to generate tourism this year, with ‘The Gathering’ and everything! (I thought ‘gatherings’ were a Scottish tradition)

      Tourism used to be the highest source of income in Ireland, maybe it still is? I’m not sure highlighting buildings green will help but considering what is done internationally for Paddy’s day, maybe Ireland is decades behind? I saw a great post yesterday of all the activities for children in Dublin this weekend. It’s good that they are putting on those kinds of events. The only people in green though were definitely tourists!!

      Of course I remember Nana’s soup! It was the best!! No lumps in it!! And she used to cool it down with cream!!! Yummy. It’s a wonder we all don’t have serious heart conditions!! I used her ‘trick’ with the girls when they were little, it’s amazing how a sieve can transform soup for small children :). I didn’t eat much in those days, but I would eat a ton of soup and bread – and Nana would let me dip buttered bread in my soup!!


  2. You should have bought new shoes for the occasion, Barbara! I love the Book of Kells and bought a coloring book of it for my Godson. It is the prettiest one I’ve ever seen.


  3. mdmusingsie says:

    Aah, the fond memories of our youth. At least you had a good viewing point for the parade – my best viewing point is from the TV screen 🙂

    PS – love the artwork on your heading.


  4. Al says:

    I learn something new and worthwhile every time I read your posts. For one thing, I’m learning more about Ireland than I ever knew. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you and your entire family, Tell your dad to hoist one for Big Al.


    • Barbara says:

      There are only 5,000,000 people (approx) in Ireland, but 80 million people worldwide hold Irish Passports! That’s a lot of people celebrating St Patrick’s day! 🙂


  5. Maxi says:

    Happy Belated Saint Patrick’s Day to ya, Barbara. Like the peace sign.
    blessings ~ maxi


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