Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why I Wear Black

I'm Irish. I just don't believe in St. Patrick. Now in my drinking days this was a great excuse to get roaring drunk with a bunch of people who were not Irish. And in later years I used it as an occasion to fix up corned beef and cabbage. Yeah, I really like it.

But St. Patrick's Day is about celebrating the fifth century conversion of the Irish to Christianity. And there began all the problems. Ireland was a peaceful country when they were all pagans. Well, except for a marauding Scot or two. I am not exactly sure St. Patrick's "conversion" was all that peaceful. Then Henry the VIII came along and wanted the Catholics to be Church of England. And Ireland splits between the Orange or Protestants and the Green or Catholics while the pagans in the countryside continued to make Maypoles and Jack-O-Lanterns.

My Dad's Mother was a Irish Catholic with roots back to the Kennedy's and my Dad's Father was Protestant Irish with some English and Scottish thrown in from a rape during conquests. Grandmother whispered Black Irish which hinted at the Moors in there somewhere too.

Dad, who had been forced to go to Catholic school and be called John instead of Jack, married a Protestant woman, my mother, and so began the next round of religious wars on the small level.

St. Patrick or no I think I reverted to my distant pagan roots. And since I don't know whether to wear orange or green on this day I generally wear black for all those that have died in Ireland because of religion.


  1. I'm not sure that religion is/was the reason for the strife in the the north of Ireland - although it was certainly used as a reason. There never were problems in the republic until DeValera decided he wanted the republic to be a Roman Catholic country, even then, both religions were/are determined to live in peace.
    Oliver Cromwell (a Puritan) certainly has a lot to answer for in the way Irish families were treated. Despite that, many leading Irish Catholic families still have sons...and daughters who join the British Army, notably the Irish Guards (fondly referred to as 'The Micks'). To be invited to the Sergeants Mess of an Irish Guards battalion today is to test your capacity for alcohol to the limit......lol !!!

  2. I am sure like much of history there are many complications along the way. And the Puritans have a lot to answer for in this country still.

    I rather think it was more religion than countries really. There are some wonderful macabre tales about the Catholics and the pagans in Ireland and then here in the settlement of the southwest. Only then it was Spanish Catholics.

    The Christian protestants would love the US to be a theologically based country but that always leads to abuse like German and the Jewish population.

    Oh, and the Micks are heavily represented in our police forces but nobody asks if they are Catholics or protestants.

  3. Still and all, quite an interesting St Paddy's Day blog.


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