I’m having a good time today remembering the trip my daughter and I took to Ireland last year in March.
Ireland is such a fantastic place. Dublin is doing a good job preserving its historic buildings. Ireland’s countryside is phenomenal. Small, picturesque farms dot the landscape. We enjoyed visiting historic small towns and cities that offer many tourist activities with castles, cathedrals, and good food.
Read all about our trip in my article, “Visit to Ireland Is Magic.”
We learned so much on our trip about Irish history. The Irish War of Independence in 1922. The Irish Civil War that followed because some people didn’t like the partitioning of Ireland that resulted in Northern Ireland remaining within the United Kingdom. Visiting the Kilmainham Gaol where leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916 were executed.
My ancestors came from Kilkishen in County Clare. We learned about this because the Anglican Church in Kilkishen was being converted to a community center and the development committee reached out descendants throughout the world to help.
After the War of Independence, a large number of Anglicans, who are Protestants, left Ireland for Northern Ireland or other places. Many Anglican churches were no longer used.
In Dublin, the former Saint Mary’s Church of Ireland has been converted to restaurant, bar, and nightclub. When we visited Bunratty Castle in County Clare, we saw an Anglican church in the Folk Park that had been moved from Ardcroney in County Tipperary and was unveiled in 1998.
I also then understood what a Catholic friend had told me. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin isn’t Catholic, it’s Anglican. It’s named for Saint Patrick, a Catholic, because he baptized converts in a well on the property on his visits to Dublin.
When we went to visit, I asked the guide how big the congregation is today. He said about 200. I asked how a congregation that small could keep such a huge cathedral going. He said, the fees that are charged, and the famous Guinness brewing family paid for its restoration.
The Guinness family sold its interest in the company, and it’s now owned by Diageo, a company formed from the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan in 1997.
As for Saint Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland, Ireland has never had snakes. Serpents are a symbol of evil in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Snakes are important in some pagan practices. So, since Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, maybe that’s the hidden meaning.
Originally a religious holiday to honor Saint Patrick, Saint Patrick’s Day has evolved into a celebration of all things Irish.
The world’s first Saint Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. This parade became an annual event, with President Truman attending in 1948.