I have dual nationality with Ireland and I am proud of my heritage every day of the year. But in France, where I live today, St. Patrick’s Day has an extra special meaning. My name is Patricia and my husband, who is French, is Patrick. So the “two Ps”, as we are often called, will probably head off to one of the Irish pubs in Paris in search of music and some craic (fun).
To celebrate, I am sharing a story and some photos with you. I enjoy telling stories as much as I do writing them. I come from a family of storytellers and I spent many hours listening to my father’s stories and jokes. My father and his family came from the West of Ireland. This holiday is also a time of memory for Irish people, remembering those who have passed on.
Let’s travel for a moment to a broad valley of steep mountains and deep ancient lakes. The landscape in Doolough Valley in County Mayo is beautiful in a wild, windswept sort of way. When you leave the comfort of your car, you soon realize that that a primal, piercingly cold dampness lies in the shadows of the silent mountains. If you open your senses, you will detect a lonely emptiness in the landscape. With a shiver, most travelers snap a photo and return to their cars, glad to find shelter from the elements.
And perhaps, as their car follows the small twisting road, they wonder about those who came to this isolated valley before them. Men, women and children lost their lives during a fateful walk here during the time of the Great Famine in 1849. Read more here. Their footsteps have been lost in time but memory of their death lives on.This monument bears the inscription: ldjdjaljdjajaljadjl
How can men feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings? – Mahatma Gandhi
An annual memorial walk is held and focuses on the ongoing hunger and injustices in the world today. It is a credit to the Irish people that their tragic past has enabled them to respond with care and compassion to the needs of others – Ireland is one of the first nations to respond to famines, natural disasters and relief efforts.
But Ireland is also about enjoying life, and you can hardly go anywhere without hearing music and there are many fine musicians and songs. I couldn’t begin to list them all here, so I just advise you to go to Ireland and enjoy discovering some favorites of your own! But as you view the following photos from my recent trip, have a listen to this classic, “Ferny Hill”, performed by the legendary group The Chieftains.