Our community is seeing green this month as we gear up for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations throughout Long Island and the tri-state area. They say “everyone’s Irish on St. Patty’s Day,” which is a good thing, as there’s no shortage of parades and festivals celebrating Irish heritage. News 12 provides a guide to St. Patrick’s Day parades on Long Island, while Mommy Poppins has compiled a family-friendly list of events.
From cooking up some authentic Irish delicacies to wearing green and listening to classic or contemporary Irish music, there are plenty of ways to show your spirit. At the LPL, we have several upcoming programs for adults and children to celebrate the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day. Adults should contact our Circulation Department to inquire about tickets for the Boston Burglars, a lively musical act that will be performing Friday evening, March 15th. This Thursday, March 7th, Linda Reilly will be guiding registered crafters through creating a festive Irish wreath. We are also lucky to have author Tom Phelan join us on Monday, March 18th to discuss his memoir We Were Rich and We Didn’t Know It, which details his early years growing up on a small farm in Ireland. Guests can look forward to light refreshments during the presentation, and books will also be available for purchase and signing by the author.
Children in grades K through 2 will learn how to “catch a leprechaun” on Wednesday, March 13th, with online registration beginning Wednesday, March 6th. More information about these programs, as well as our other March and April events, can be found in our current newsletter.
USA Today offers a few other suggestions for St. Patrick’s Day activities that include reading literature from Irish writers, like James Joyce or Bram Stoker (I had no idea Dracula was written by an Irishman!), and watching films set in Ireland or that include Irish culture. The article suggests The Commitments, The Quiet Man, and The Wind that Shakes the Barley. As a die- hard fan of romcoms, I would also recommend P.S. I Love You, Leap Year, and Circle of Friends, both the movie and the book by Maeve Binchy. That last one is definitely more of a drama, but it does feature a great romance between Minnie Driver and Chris O’Donnell, who is trying his hardest to do a decent Irish accent (you can tell me if you think he pulls it off!). As a fan of truly great films, I would also beg you to borrow Brooklyn from the LPL if you haven’t seen it yet. The costumes, the lighting, and the incredible performances are just a few of the reasons why this is an amazing film that celebrates the power of the home we come from (in this case, Ireland) and the home we create for ourselves (Brooklyn, obviously). One of my favorite parts is the Christmas scene, during which a character in a soup kitchen sings a plaintive song in Gaelic. I have no idea what he’s saying, but I cry every time. If this sounds like a story that speaks to you, you should, of course, pick up a copy of Colm Toibin’s novel from which the film is based.
Speaking of literature, let’s also not forget the rich tradition of Irish poets. My favorite course in graduate school was Northern Irish Poetry, where I was introduced to Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Maebh McGuckian, Paul Muldoon (see my previous post, Awkwardly Meeting Authors to read about my experience meeting Paul Muldoon), and more. Given the country’s turbulent past and long history, you can imagine the depth that comes from these poets. Give it try, especially since National Poetry month is coming up in April.
I think most of us could use a little brushing up on our world history, and the History Channel provides some succinct background on St. Patrick’s Day and the Irish in America, as does Britannica. For more information about Ireland, Irish heritage, and St. Patrick’s Day, including everything from picture book stories to adult novels and informational texts, search our catalog or speak to one of our librarians.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
“May good luck be with you wherever you go, and your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow.”