An Irish Red and an Irish Read

Welcome to day 5 of 17 days of Irish. Today we get a bit of a history lesson.

Many Americans “become” Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and some (like me) have anywhere from a jigger to a pint of Irish blood in us, yet celebrate like we are the full keg.

As Americans, I guess we tend do that a bit;  sift through all the ingredients in our melting pot and, for one reason or another, choose to focus on certain aspects of our heritage more than others.

Maybe it’s because, since I was little, people see me and ask “You must be Irish, huh?” or, “I bet there’s some Irish in you somewhere.” or some such similar comment. What is it about red hair that makes people think Ireland? To answer this question, I consulted the mighty Google, which then took me to that fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia (you need to see the reference photos on the side – they’re pretty funny).

Turns out, the assumption is mostly true – while it’s Scotland that has the highest percentage of red heads, Ireland comes in at number two.  The funny thing is, I get my red hair from my maternal great-grandmother, who immigrated from Lithuania. (My maternal grandfather – the one who provided me with the most Irish blood, had dark hair and dark eyes). Wiki explains that as well, noting that, prior to the 20th century – red hair was most often seen as a stereotypically Jewish trait – notably among Jews living in places like – you guessed it – Lithuania.

So anyways, back to my point – maybe it was all those inferences that I must have Irish in me that made me curious. I found myself drawn to Celtic myths and legends, and when I came across this book while browsing shelves one day, I bought it on impulse:

The story of Irish legend and hero Cuchulain,  this book was amazing. I adored it. I went on to buy every book I could find from author Morgan Llywelyn, which is how I discovered her Irish Century series.

From 1916 and the Easter Rebellion to 1999 and the struggles Ireland and Northern Ireland face today, Llweyln has constructed a rich tale – informative and fascinating. It is full of details and facts, yes, but also rich with a cast of remarkably memorable characters. I highly HIGHLY recommend this series!

I thought I owned every single book she has put out – but while putting this post together I discovered she released a book last year about legendary Irish navigator and Saint, Brendan of Clonfert.

Not that I usually receive gifts for St. Paddy’s day…but this wouldn’t be a bad idea if someone decided they were going to surprise me. (I am shameless when it comes to presents, if you haven’t figured that out yet).

See you tomorrow for day 6…when we’ll continue with the theme of presents…and something you may be adding to your own wish list!

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