Irish and Proud

Did you know, over 80 million people worldwide claim to be of Irish descent somewhere along their family tree.  I guess that is what centuries of immigration will do. But the reign of the Irish may have started much earlier than the 1700s.

If author Thomas Cahill is to be believed, the Irish saved classical civilization after the fall of the Roman Empire. You can read all about it in his book “The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe“.

Mr Cahill credits St Patrick with initiating this heroic deed when he was brought to Ireland as a slave from Roman-era Britain and later converted the heathen Irish to Christianity. Once converted from their pagan ways, the Irish then set about to establish the monastic movement, copying the books being destroyed elsewhere in Europe.  It is through this reproduction of books and preservation of literature, that the Irish are credited with saving civilization as we know it today.

The book didn’t go down too well with critics in the mid 1990s when the book was published.  Nor indeed with the academics well versed in such topics, but I for one enjoyed the zealous nature with which the author truly believed in the influence with which the Irish had on the world as we know it today.

So if you are one of the 80 million of Irish descent around the world, you can Stand Proud and Be Irish for this claim and so much more, on this most Irish of days – St Patrick’s Day.

Beannachtai na Feile Padraig to you all.  I hope it is a day filled with a good deal of “caint, craic agus ceol“, and some Tall Stories for good measure, beginning with this one.

Traffic Lights in Ireland look like this.  They really do!!

Thanks to my cousin Trisha O’Connor for this clip. Endorsement of Toyota is not intended.

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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