Once upon a time, I met a couple from Northern Ireland who invited me over. So I went.
Four times in one year, I went; people there defined hospitality. No joke, my pajamas got ironed in Ireland.
In Ireland, I found things I will always smile remembering. A land gentle and lush from rain. Deep laughter. Irish soda bread (light and puffed golden triangles toasted with butter---laaa!). Families that talk to each other, a lot. Did I mention laughter? The Ulster fry (breakfast where everything is panfried from bacon and eggs to tomatoes and toast). The best butter, real and yet unfathomably creamy and spreadable. Lyric that lilts in their music, in their poetry.
We went hiking in a park in the winter, and the sheep stared us down. We went dress shopping in the spring, drank tea in hidden shops. I was introduced to Percy Pigs, shopped in Avoca (Ireland's verion of Anthropologie) and offered tea at least 43 times a day. I learned to say so she did after everything, and what's the craic (how was the party)? I was enchanted by it all. I still am.
What I will always take away from Ireland is the way the extended families love each other, help each other, stop in just to say hi.
Whether or not it's true, St Patrick's Day celebrates a man whose story of kidnapping, escape, and intentional return to share the good news is ever-intriguing. It is the country that I love, though.
Today, I'll remember the soft and dewy country that I have come to love and hope to visit again soon. Happy St Patrick's Day!