Emerald Blood


Bim Peacock

Erin go Braugh (Ireland forever)

A fiddle plays in the square.  The sights of orange and green flags strewn about the city fill the eyes of the young and old. The smell of whiskey floats on the breeze, and the gales from a distant land touch the coasts of America.  It is that time of year yet again, one that for the young goes by unnoticed, and for the old simply means to drink twice as much, Saint Patrick ’s Day.  The day when we honor some random Irish saint, for some random unknown reason.  All that most people know is to dress up with shamrocks and gold in the hope that a tiny man in a green tuxedo does not wreak havoc upon them.  But what does the green, the foreign music, the drinks, and the hearty voices with thick rolling ‘r’s really mean?

If one were to ask a historian, they claim it’s the day when Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, drove the serpents from the country of Ireland, but ask any native Irishman, and they would tell the true stories of the holiday.  Yes, they may speak of the patron saint.  But their eyes would widen with pride as they speak of their resilient kinsmen, their sparkling emerald shores, and by God the proud culture crammed into a miniscule island.

The 17th of March is the one day of the year where countries worldwide salute Ireland, the smallest of countries with the grandest of hearts.  The one day where the ancestors of long emigrated Irishmen honor their ancient heritage.  But why should we care?  Why should we care about an island far across the ocean?  Why should we care about a land full of brilliantly mad people, who have lost war after war, have been conquered by empire after empire, have been crushed time and time again, yet still sing songs of rebellion and dare their enemies to brawl with them?  Why should we care about a society as full of spirit and defiance as the Irish are?

Quite simply because of their effect worldwide.  When the potato famine hit the country in 1840, millions migrated across the Earth to find refuge and begin life anew.  While huge amounts moved to America, many more fled across Europe or even to South America, Australia, South Africa, as well as numerous other regions. The customs and beliefs of the Christian-Celtic people spread far and wide, mixing with common beliefs to create numerous traditions we follow today, such as Halloween.  Their blood is mixed so deeply into the world’s nations, few can say they don’t carry Celtic ancestry within them.  Needless to say, this culture and its vast influence shaped the very fabric of the world known to modern day.

In reality, however, this nation represents so much more.  People may speak of the dancing, the drinking, the accents and music, but what they miss is the very aspect of humanity that so many have lost.  When a nation, even one person, is able to stand against the tide that has washed them away, lifetime after lifetime, generation after generation, it is truly unstoppable.  When they are able to laugh at that which brings them so much darkness and pain, they stand taller than any challenge that comes to face them.  Yet in the entire world, when so much of mankind has lost this most basic strength of humanity, the Emerald Isle still stands proud as one of the last nations on Earth with the sheer power of unstoppable spirit fueling them. With it, they glare defiantly at any giant who dares to cross paths with them.

The sound of screeching bagpipes and un-tuned fiddles may rake across the ear, yet for many, it brings the sound of rebellion and a society long able to withstand the brutalities of life, while at the same time daring them to strike harder.  Emerald shamrocks, snickering leprechauns, and the hopping, jumping, smiling men and women dancing a jig are the harbingers for the one holiday where humanity’s greatest strength finally receives the honor it deserves.  The one day that bears such great importance, yet is so easily overlooked.