The West's Awakeby Cormac MacConnell
- Bishop Eamon Casey served us well, and deserves our prayers
- A lovely tale of island life in the paradise of West Clare
- The Boarding Out orphan was a wonderful pick
- How do the Irish regard their American visitors? With pride
- Absolutely no relation to US Republican politician Mitch McConnell
That's rare in Ireland. I never met a female Paddy before, though I've heard of a few. Given the days we are living through, with the name of our national saint featuring in headlines all over the world, meeting Paddy focused my zany mind on something I mentioned here en passant a few years ago but would like to return to again if I may.
It is about the deeply revealing and nuanced way, certainly here in Ireland, in which the name Patrick is borne through life by those many thousands who were baptized with it. I don't know what the situation is on that front in Irish America, but I'm fascinated by the deeply coded and indicative elements of it on home ground.
The truth is that the many variants of the name Patrick in common usage through the four home provinces are priceless in giving the rest of us a clue about the social width and depth of the stranger Patrick we are meeting either for business or pleasure.
And I was also taught the shamrock is so special to us as a symbol of the Irish because St. Patrick used a fistful of shamrock on the Hill of Tara to explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity to the pagans around him at that historic site. Take another shot from the bottle... The facts are that the first four letters of the word shamrock are brutally and cruelly accurate.
The facts are that there is no evidence at all that St. Patrick used the delicate little plant as a conversion tool at Tara or anywhere else for that matter.
The facts are that he never mentioned shamrock in his many writings about his conversion campaign at that time. The facts are that any link between the good saint and shamrock did not appear until English writers and botanists began mentioning the myth as hearsay about 1571.
If you are acquainted with such a special man then treasure the friendship because it is rare and priceless.
The apple tree grew sturdily in the front garden just a few yards from the farmhouse front door. It was a special tree because it bore a good crop of Sheepsnout apples every autumn.
The apples are aptly named because they are ribbed like the snout of a real sheep, long and green-skinned and the sweetest fruit of their kind. They are also quite rare, and Annie Naughton was very proud of them always.