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Library News

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I am not much of a holiday person but this one runs second to Halloween as my favorite. There's just something about cute leprechauns and cheerful green shamrocks that makes me smile. I always enjoy putting together bulletin boards and the annual reading of the green display in March.

St. Pat's also brings to mind a reference question that we have been asked over and over through the years...the meaning of "Erin Go Braugh." The answer? Ireland Forever! The origins of the phrase go back to 1780 with the emergence of the Irish Patriot Party and the slogan has been in use ever since.

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Another question associated with St. Patrick's Day I remember looking for is where is the Blarney Stone and exactly what is it? The stone is part of the construction of Blarney Castle about 5 miles from Cork. According to legend anyone kissing it will be blessed with the gift of gab thus the word blarney has come to mean clever talk. To kiss the stone involves leaning backwards over a parapet usually with someone hanging on to your ankles, so it is not an easy task.

And now on to leprechauns which have long been part of Irish folklore. They usually take the form of old men, enjoy practical jokes and can be found busy making shoes. They are also known for hiding gold coins in the pots found at the end of rainbows. If you can catch one, they will give you three wishes in return for their release. So watch for short guys wearing red or green coats! You may be able to make a trade.

Did you know that a green shamrock is actually a white clover? It has medicinal properties and was a popular symbol in Victorian décor. It is a sign of good luck (not to be confused with the four leaf clover) and has become a national symbol for Ireland. Shamrocks are exported each year for Irish troops stationed all over the world to wear on St. Patrick's Day.

March 17 has been noted in the United States since 1737 when it was first celebrated in Boston.

If you enjoy St, Patrick's Day, get in the spirit. Wear your green shirt to the library and check out a book by an Irish author, one about Ireland, one that takes place in Ireland or even one with a green cover.

The library is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. -- 8 p.m., Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m. -- 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. -- 2 p.m.

Mary Jo Ruppert
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