My dad is Irish, but the only really Irish things I remember growing up were eating corned beef and hash and having a big Irish wake after my grandmother's funeral. I'd have to say that the Irish deal with death better than anyone else I've ever seen - they go out and have a big party with the family and keep everything very lighthearted.
Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, and I wanted to write then, but just now found the time - at almost 1am...
Anyways, St. Patrick's Day is a cool holiday in my opinion, not just because of the green beer and pinching people - but because of who St. Patrick was.
Patrick was a Roman Briton born in Wales around 390 AD. He was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave when he was 16 yrs old. After living there as a slave for 6 yrs, he managed to escape back to Britain. While there he joined a monastery and became a minister, and later decided to go back to Ireland as a missionary.
Patrick was one of the earliest Christian missionaries to travel abroad to spread Christianity. There isn't a lot we know about his time as a missionary in Ireland, except that he preached the Gospel and baptized many people, including some members of the royal family.
One of the noteworthy things which Patrick did as a missionary was live in solidarity with the Irish people. Patrick wrote that he "sold his nobility" to enhance his commonality with his Irish audience. He learned their language, and lived among them, instead of separately.
In a lot of ways he left a good legacy for missionaries who came after him.
Here's to Patrick the missionary and the Irish people. Corned beef forever!