Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Ireland is a land of about 6.2 million inhabitants, counting the population of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

It is estimated that there are over 70 million persons of Irish descent that live outside of the island.

I am one of them.

My great-great grandfather, John McCarthy, left Ireland in the third year of the famine – about 1849. It was said the good farmers hung on for that long.

March 17 is the feast day of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. It is said that everyone is Irish on March 17!

Ireland is a beautiful land. My grandfather, and all the others who left during the Diaspora, were truly desperate. Only in recent times has prosperity begun to come to Ireland, now sometimes called the “Celtic Tiger” of the European economy. I saw that economy first hand, about a dozen years ago, when the photo of me in front of the McCarthy Homestead (aka, Blarney Castle) was taken by my brother.

So, when we pause to listen to an Irish tune, or raise a glass for St. Patrick today, let’s also pause to consider the hardships endured shared by all immigrants coming to a new land, and give thanks that they came to such a wonderful country – the United States of America.

And, let us close with some lines from the Great Saint himself: “Therefore, indeed, I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favours and graces has the Lord deigned to bestow on me in the land of my captivity [Ireland]. For after chastisement from God, and recognizing him, our way to repay him is to exalt him and confess his wonders before every nation under heaven.”