Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Did you ever go across the sea to Ireland? - and my design for Saint Patrick's Day.

GALWAY BAY
Did you ever go across the sea to Ireland
And maybe at the closing of your day
You can sit and watch the moon rise over Claddagh
And see the sun go down on Galway Bay

Just to hear again the ripple of the troutstream
The women in the meadows making hay
Just to sit around the turf in the cabin
And watch the barefoot gossoons at their play.

Oh the breezes blowing o'er the seas from Ireland
Are perfumed by the heather as the blow
And the women in the uplands digging praties
Speak a language that the stranger do not know.

Oh the strangers came and tried to teach us their ways
They scorned us just for being what they are
But they might as well go chasing after moonbeams
Or light a penny candle from a star.

And if there's going to be a life hereafter
And somehow I am sure there's going to be
I would ask my God to let me make my heaven
In that dear land across the Irish Sea.

(FYI gossoons mean young boys who would have been barefoot many years ago - comes from the French 'garcon' for boy - it usually referred to servant boys. Praties are potatoes.)

My Mum and Dad were from Galway - a wonderful and vibrant City on the West coast of Ireland and home of the Oyster festival each September - and are laid to rest there so this song has a big significance for my family. I visited Galway nearly every summer growing up and many of my close relatives still live there too so isn't it about time I created something that celebrates my Irish heritage and the place where I now live? The United States and Ireland have always been the best of friends and Saint Patrick's Day is certainly a very big deal here in America.

I'm not a big fan of the usual Saint Patrick's Day paraphernalia so for my design I choose to go down the road of refined, well illustrated and representative of the great friendship between these two countries. Of course the flags were key - I intertwined their ropes and then surrounded the flag poles with a Claddagh ring - another icon from Galway which has become a worldwide symbol of love, friendship and loyalty, and how could I not put a couple of shamrock leaves in there for good luck - Saint Patrick used shamrock for some of his teachings and it is a well known symbol of Ireland itself. When I lived in England my Irish relatives would send over a lovely little box of live shamrock each year a few days before St. Patrick's Day.

Finally I also should mention, in case you hadn't noticed, my name is Patricia and thus St. Patrick is my patron saint - another good reason to honour this most Irish of days!!

I decided to do my design two ways one without lettering the other with a Gaelic phrase that translates to "Friends Forever" - some people like phrases, some people don't - in my opinion - and of course that is ridiculously biased - you could wear this any day of the year to celebrate your Irish American heritage.
Here are some items from my CafePress shop

My Cafepress mug with an allover design

What will you be cooking for Saint Patrick's Day?
And with the Gaelic phrase translating to "Friends Forever" available here
I will be doing a blog post closer to the actual day - Saturday March 17th - with an Irish dessert recipe to have at your St. Pat's party.

dea-Shláinte (Good Health!) 
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