Friday, March 16, 2007

Erin Go Bragh!!

Know what that means? "Ireland Forever" You should be able to hear it frequently and fervently tomorrow. Green Beer. Shamrocks. Silly hats. Kiss me, I'm Irish. It's that time of year again. Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day.

A few years ago, I had the great good fortune to be in Dublin on March 17. Through a series of wonderful circumstances, I was able to obtain VIP viewing of the parade and an invitation to the Lord Mayor's Ball. You'd think that would be about the most authentic Irish celebration ever, wouldn't you? So did I, but we were wrong.

The parade consisted largely of rowdy groups of Americans from places like Boston and Chicago who had won contests on their local radio station to go to Ireland and be in the parade. It's almost as if someone's marketing department created this parade just for the winners. The Lord Mayor's Ball was elegant with a gourmet dinner and excellent musicians. But again, the attendees were mostly American tourists.

Both of these events were loads of fun, and I'm glad I got the chance to attend. But give me the local pub any time. As our hero, Michael Gallagher, discovers in BRIANNA'S MAGIC, the authentic Irish celebration of St. Patrick's Day is not much different from any other night of the year. The Irish will always find some reason to lift a glass of Guinness.

That trip to Ireland certainly makes my Top Ten list of the best things I've ever done. But the most fun I had there was the day we left the tour group to wander aimlessly through Kenmare. We had a great time climbing over the wall of the old cemetery so we could read the headstones in the drizzling rain. It's the stuff of Irish legend, folks.

It's one of my life goals to get back there. And this time, I might be smart enough to stay!


Have a wonderful day,

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