Listening to the date being said on the morning radio news - Tuesday March 17th - I experience a small birthday kind of thrill. There's something about this date that I've always found wonderful - presumably because for years it meant a day off from school, a parade, a break from Lent, a departure from the normal.
So, for the day that's in it, some reasons to be glad to be Irish. Rita Connolly singing The Deer's Cry (from Shaun Davey's album The Pilgrim); Sinéad singing Take me to Church; Rónán Ó Snodaigh from Kila singing Ón Taobh Tuathail Amach and that magnificent Corkman John Spillane singing All the Ways You Wander from a TG4 live seisiún. And, lest the Ulsterfolk feel neglected, a poem from the timeless Patrick Kavanagh.
Beir bua, beo agus beannacht a chairde, beannchtaí lá na féile Phádraig oraibh.
Having confessed he feels
That he should go down on his knees and pray
For forgiveness for his pride, for having
Dared to view his soul from the outside.
Lie at the heart of the emotion, time
Has its own work to do. We must not anticipate
Or awaken for a moment. God cannot catch us
Unless we stay in the unconscious room
Of our hearts. We must be nothing,
Nothing that God may make us something.
We must not touch the immortal material
We must not daydream tomorrow's judgment—
God must be allowed to surprise us.
We have sinned, sinned like Lucifer
By this anticipation. Let us lie down again
Deep in anonymous humility and God
May find us worthy material for His hand
(Patrick Kavanagh, Collected Poems, WW Norton & Co.)