Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day


I hope everyone (Irish or Irish-at-heart or Irish-for-the-day) is wearing their green today. St. Patty's Day is one of my favorite holidays. I have fond memories (and continue to make them to this day) of celebrating this holiday with my crazy-big and super-Irish family. The parades in Kansas City, the unforgettable parties thrown by my Uncle Bobby & Aunt Susie (and my parents' friends, the Houlenhans), the corned beef & cabbage, the music, (later in life) the green beer, the beads, the green clothes and hair and fountains you see around town on the holiday, the Claddagh jewlery (like my Claddagh ring Caton gave me before my real engagement ring), and the Kansas City Irish Fest (that actually takes place in September of every year).

I am so proud of my family's Irish-Catholic heritage and the Irish culture of KC. As I've mentioned a few times before, Caton is quite the history buff, so if you're interested in reading about the history of St. Patrick's Day you can check it out here.

I want to share a few fun facts about one of my favorite days of the year:
* My family is very Irish. My maiden name is Fagan, my paternal grandmother's maiden name is Fleming, and my maternal grandmother's maiden name is Murray. My dad (and his 10 siblings) and his parents, and his grandparents, and his great grandparents (you get the idea) are all 100% Irish. The name Fagan is of Irish and Gaelic origin and the surname comes from the Gaelic 'O Faodhagain'.

* My name, Kathleen, is from Irish origin and means 'pure'.

* St. Patrick's Day takes place on March 17th each year. This date is the traditional religious feast of Saint Patrick. Patrick is my dad's name (well, his middle name, F. Patrick, aka Pat), my brother's middle name (John Patrick, aka Jack) and also my nephew/godson's middle name (Aiden Patrick). Let's just say it runs in the family.

* Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patty's Day meal. In 2009, about 26.1 billion pounds of beef and 2.3 billion pounds of cabbage were produced in the US.

* The first St. Patrick's Day parade was held in the US in 1762 when Irish soldiers that served in the English military marched through New York City.

* There are four places in the US that are named after the shamrock: Mount Gay-Shamrock, WV; Shamrock, TX; Shamrock Lakes, IN; and Shamrock, OK.

* There are 36.9 million US residents with Irish roots. This number is more than eight times the population of Ireland itself (4.5 million).

* Irish is our nation's second most frequently reported ancestry; German is the first.

* Ireland is my top choice for places I want to visit before I die. I hope to travel there sooner than later in life!

I hope you all enjoy your corned beef & cabbage, green beers and kisses... and enjoy a few of my favorite Irish blessings:

Irish Eyes Blessing
When Irish eyes are smiling,
Tis like a morn in spring.
With a lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing
When Irish hearts are happy
All the world is bright and gay
When Irish eyes are smiling
Sure, they steal your heart away.

Irish House Blessing
We believe in living deeply,
Laughing often and loving always.
We believe we were brought together
To support and care for each other.
We believe that everyone's feelings count,
And that the uniqueness of each of us
Strengthens all of us.
We believe in the power of forgiving to heal
And the power of love to carry us through.
We believe in one another,
In this family,
In this house.
Failte! (Welcome!)

Irish Marriage Blessing
May God be with you and bless you.
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

Famous Irish Blessing
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rain fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand. 


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