My grandfather was Irish and I was lucky to spend some holidays in Ireland as a child. As I’ve got older I’ve started to forget some of the details yet other memories remain. My grandad’s family lived in a remote village in Donegal so to get there we sometimes would drive, going across on the ferry (from Scotland). I remember on one such ferry I was bought a tin whistle, I loved it but as an adult now, I wonder how many other passengers on the ferry appreciated the purchase of that particular gift – haha.
Other times we would fly into Londonderry “Derry” Airport. It was strange, going through Derry in the 90’s and 00’s, I distinctly remember seeing armed police officers, something I had never seen before. Yet, my main memories of Derry are of going shopping. It is funny how as a child something that you initially take as odd, is rather quickly accepted.
One of my favourite memories from these holidays was visiting the giant’s causeway and my grandfather telling me the tale of the two giants who spent many years throwing rocks at one another. I think these tales seem to differ a little dependent upon whose telling them but in my grandfather’s version, the Irish giant built the causeway to Scotland, upon arrival he realised the Scottish giant was much bigger and stronger than he had realised. He then scurried back home to hide. His wife came up with a cunning plan and disguised the Irish giant as a baby, when the Scottish giant took one look at him, he realised if that was the baby, the father must be even bigger and quickly returned to Scotland destroying the causeway on the way. My grandfather told me this story when I was very little, perhaps 4 or 5 but I think it was one of the first stories I had heard in which the woman was the hero, the smart one, who ultimately saved the day.
I hope everyone has a great St Patrick’s Day. Time to eat, drink and celebrate the Irish.
For those wanting a little extra fun, I quite enjoyed this article: 7 Surprising St Patrick’s Day Facts
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17, the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years.
Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint of Ireland and its national apostle. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people.