Today's the day when the Irish—and people who want to be Irish—celebrate by doing typically Irish things; like drinking green beer, dancing Irish jigs, and going to mass. (?)1
My ancestors on my mother's side are (mostly) Irish. My grandfather was a Doherty (O'Doherty). That's the name at the top of the map in country Donegal. That side of the family came to Canada in 1802 and the Irish blood has been diluted—most notably by American refugees from the Revolutionary War (United Empire Loyalists) (gasp!).
The O'Doherty's are descended from Niall Noigíallach who kidnapped St. Patrick.
My grandmother was a Foster from Fermanagh. That's by the two lakes (Lower Lough Erne and Upper Lough Erne) in the upper central part of the country near the seat of the Maguires. Her family came to Canada in 1865 but both of her parents were Irish so at least 1/4 of my genes are undiluted Irish. I'll drink to that.
We don't talk about the nasty little fact that the Foster's were probably English invaders from the 1600's. As they say, somebody had to civilize the Irish and it might as well have been the English!
One of the reasons why the topic was avoided by my grandparents was because the O'Doherty clan was almost wiped out by the English during the O'Doherty rebellion in 1608 led by Sir Cahir O’Doherty. Some of the survivors had to flee to Skye to avoid being hung. I descend from those refugees.
1. This entire post is a copy of my first St. Patrick's Day post in 2007.