Did you think I could ignore today? A happy St. Patrick's day to all Irish, half-Irish,quarter- Irish, those who would be Irish,those who live in Ireland, those who would like to live in Ireland and those who know someone Irish. I think I've just about covered everything.
Living in England and married to an English man, with English children and grandchildren, I have to celebrate my Irishness. So there's the shamrock cake, green icing of course,Guinness,whisky, cheering for the rugby team. But St. Patrick, now lets say it quietly,he was English! All along the northwest coast of England they claim his birthplace. Morecambe Bay has quite a reasonable claim, the north coast Lakes and some of Dumfrieshire [which says it's Scottish!] also. I joined an Icon painting group last year at Hyning Monastery in north Lancashire. It was not looked upon too kindly that I wanted to paint [or as they say officially] write St. Patrick. There was little to follow, so I kind of made him up.I thought he would be kind, lots of the traditional Icons look quite fierce. As the McClellands came originally from the same area, I thought perhaps he might have a bit of a look of my dad. I thought he wouldn't want to be as grand as some of the other Icon saints. Who knows. I loved making him up. There are lots of things we will never know and sometimes the joy is just to dream!
I believe that this is where Patrick eventually rested,in this lovely garden graveyard not far from the school I attended in Belfast.They say he was well over a hundred years old when he died,and most of that time he spent in Ireland.So England may have birthed him, but Ireland sustained him. I'm going over for a week to refuel my Irishness and when I come back you may have to get a translation when I talk to you, as Belfast will have done it's job.