St Patrick's Day celebrated in Ireland
After sticking my nose into several papers this week, two of which were centered on the Great Famine and emigration, I began to wonder where the fascination with Irish history and culture comes from and what makes it so cool? I mean, I started Irish-dancing because I thought it was awesome and because I wanted to be like the “Riverdancers”, but for everyone else - why do those who are not Irish at all love the Irish culture so much?

After much thought and consideration, I think it has to do with a few things. The first is the spread of Irish history and culture through the Irish Diaspora around the world. Those who are of Irish descent, which I believe is around 40 million people (or something like that), tend to try to relate to their Irish ancestors as much as they can. Being Irish, and Irish-American for that matter, has also helped the interest. For many, the “Americanization” of St. Patrick’s Day can be seen as a negative thing, but personally I find it a positive thing. Yes, there is usually plenty of alcohol involved, but lots of other places have St. Patrick’s Day celebrations too. Being an Irish-dancer, I have danced at countless assisted living facilities and schools over the years, and all of those places were very excited to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day along with the rowdies in the bars.

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I think it has to do with the friendly culture in general; I have not met anyone here yet who was not nice at all. The Irish most certainly do live up to their warm, hospitable reputations in every way and I think that is what makes the culture so accessible. Everyone in Ireland (or those who I have met) is nice, and they all like to have a good time (whether alcohol is involved or not). In short, it is the Irish people themselves that make their culture so likeable.

They also love to share their history with everyone, which is why I think people become interested in it - they are so proud of their country’s historical sites and the stories behind them. For instance, I had the wonderful opportunity to go and visit some friends in Cashel and I got to see the Rock of Cashel from a local perspective. I learned more about the town, the Rock, and the area than I probably would have had I gone on my own.

The question of “Why is Ireland so cool?” can have a wide variety of answers, but I think it lies within the people of Ireland themselves. I say this because it is human nature to gravitate towards nice people and places, and as the Irish are nice and have maintained that reputation over the years, the culture is as likeable as ever!