St. Patrick’s Day




Irish Immigrants (1909) / Wikimedia Commons

Dia duit!

While many of us like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. with green apparel and booze, it’s also super important to acknowledge the origins of the celebration: immigrants! With the future of over 800,000 Dreamers in jeopardy under the current administration’s policies, it’s only right to draw attention to the holiday an article from TIME calls

[…] the closest thing in America to National Immigrant Day, a tribute not only to the Irish, but to the idea that Americans are all part “other.”


SO, if you weren’t aware, the general consensus of nativist Americans in the 19th century was that the Irish (the first ‘modern’ immigrants in the U.S., as expanded upon in this NY Times article from 2012) behaved like this:

Anti-Irish Political Cartoon by Thomas Nast

“The Usual Irish Way of Doing Things” (1871) / Wikimedia Commons

The political cartoon above is by Thomas Nast, y’know, the dude who created the modern-day depiction of a fat, red-suit-wearing Santa Claus? Yeah, same guy.

Here’s a continuation on that thought from my FB, (edited slightly for clarity):

  • The celebration was brought to the United States by Irish immigrants in the 19th century.
  • These immigrants (and others from ‘undesirable’ areas of Europe, such as Scotland, Germany, and Italy) were largely unwelcome in ‘white collar’ work forces, such as medicine, politics, law, et al.
  • Many of these immigrants didn’t speak English, and would learn only after arriving in the U.S.A., including the Irish. (The English language was forced upon them for 800 years but was by no means universal in Ireland then, nor is it today.)
  • Not all of these immigrants came legally; even today, a low estimate of illegal U.S. residency by white Europeans and Canadians is 550,000 according to the most recent figures from the Pew Research Center.

This brings us to the present, when people with Irish (and German, and Italian, and Scottish, and … ) surnames are trying to prevent immigrants (today, largely from South America, Central America, Africa, and the Middle East) from enjoying all the benefits and opportunities their ancestors received once anti-immigrant sentiments shifted southerly. Such is the (stupid) pattern of history. But not all is lost (it never is).



If we as a society can willingly get behind this look for a day

Some dude in questionable attire / Chicago Tribune


surely, we can get behind these amazing people!

here to stay

Dreamers / The Intercept


Slán abhaile!

x. Carey




Here’s a secret dream of mine: there are few things I want more from this life than to have an entire holiday dedicated to a book I wrote, although, full disclosure, I’m no closer to finishing Ulysses than I was last year.

However, I did finish Dubliners and would 10/10 recommend!!

Bloomsday Events in D.C., USA

Bloomsday Events in Dublin, Ireland

Bloomsday Events in London, UK

Bloomsday Events in Montréal, Canada

Bloomsday Events in Philadelphia, USA



literally no further than last year so last year’s pic is just as accurate alas

“and yes, i said yes”



It’s Bloomsday!

     Here’s why it’s a big deal…

Ireland is known for its literature, and Ireland is known for its history of persecution via Norman & English invaders. Therefore, when Ireland’s literature is persecuted abroad or at home, its literature becomes iconic, a voice for the oppressed.

Bloomsday celebrates the banned book, Ulysses, by Éire’s native son, James Joyce, ergo, it is a huge festival in Ireland and internationally, courtesy the diaspora.

Addendum, as to why I celebrate: I’m Irish, but I am also a huge supporter of reading banned books. It’s important not to let someone else’s idea of “right” and “wrong” taint yours, and even if the books were banned with the “best” intentions, I believe we have every right to read them. (Also, the libraries would be depleted of books very quickly should every contested novel be ousted.)


this is my 1946 edition, courtesy a library book sale (and a Trinity knot necklace)

Here’s a quick history lesson…

16 June 1904 is celebrated as the 24 hour period in which Irish novelist James Joyce turned in the magnificent, bawdy and extremely dense novel Ulysses.

Ulysses has been both heralded by great authors and decried by noted reviewers alike, and was banned in the United States from 1922 until 1934 (the U.S. Espionage Act wreaked havoc on free speech during and after the First World War.)

Not to say there weren’t copies of the “obscene book” smuggled into the U.S.

Addendum: In the 2011 historical novel The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt (set in 1920’s New England & France), two young women go to Paris to have Joyce sign their copy of the novel; an interesting fact is the author of Scrapbook is the goddaughter of Sylvia Beach, Joyce’s publisher, in real life


and here’s Dubliners (1971 ed.) chillin’ in the living room

Here are synopses…

“Joyce’s Ulysses is a novel of eighteen “episodes,” all set in Dublin, Ireland, between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 am, June 16-17, 1904. The three main characters are a young school teacher and aspiring writer named Stephen Dedalus (the main character of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man), a middle-aged Jewish advertising salesman named Leopold Bloom, and Leopold’s wife, Molly Bloom. During the composition of Ulysses Joyce compiled a working outline or “schema” indicating the title of each episode (each title taken from some character or incident in Homer’s Odyssey), the approximate time and place of its setting, and, for most of the episodes, the bodily organ, the “art,” the color, the symbol, and the “technic” (or technique) significant to each episode, as well as some of the correspondences between characters in Ulysses and in Homer’sOdyssey. In the schema Joyce also divided the book into three main sections, the “Telemachia”–episodes 1-3–the “Odyssey”–episodes 4-15–and the “Nostos”–episodes 16-18. In the brief summary that follows, each entry begins with the title Joyce gave the episode in the schema (these titles do not appear in Ulysses), followed by the time; scene; bodily organ; art; color; symbol; and technic. When Joyce did not include some category for an episode a — is used.”

(Courtesy Weldon Thornton and Morris Beja, Bucknell University)

Longer Synopsis (Extension of Quote Above)

Longest Synopsis (That One is Likely to Read)

…And here’s how far I’ve come as of today:



x. Carey




We’ve made it.

It’s the Spring, the end of the Winter, the beginning of new life.

The darkness that begins with Halloween

ends today,

with this vernal Holy week.

Today is the day Catholics (and many Protestants) celebrate the Resurrection.

(The Greek Orthodox Church celebrates Easter this year on May 1st.)

Many other faiths celebrated ceremonials this past week, and their holidays are noted below.

Easter Rose

In Éire, it’s the centenary of the Easter Rising of 1916, which means so much to the Irish.

I can’t begin to explain it, so here is Yeats’ take.


In Sweden, the Easter witches come out, lurking the the shadows until dawn.


In the Vatican, the Pope says a magnificent Mass for everyone.

In Jerusalem, fewer Christians made a pilgrimage this year than last,

and yet the faithful will always come.

♥ ∞ ♥

This past week was also an important one for many other religions.

The Spring Equinox was last Sunday,

and both the followers of Persian Zoroastrian and Baha’i celebrated the New Year on 21st March.

The 23rd was both Holi, a Hindu festival, and also Magha Puja, a critical date in the Buddhist calendar,

and 24 March was Purim, the Jewish celebration of Queen Esther‘s heroism and her prevention of an impending genocide.

The 24th was also Hola Mohalla, the founding of the Sikh Khalsa.

Tomorrow, the 28th of March, is the prophet Zarathustra‘s birthday,

(Holiday research courtesy Dr. R. Sawyer. Much thanks.)

♥ ∞ ♥

My prayers are extended to those affected by the recent acts of terror in Pakistan, Belgium, Turkey, Nigeria, and the Côte d’Ivoire.

Banksy expresses hope for world peace beautifully.

Peace, lovelies.

x. Carey

p.s. – I realize that I know very little about the celebrations and customs and traditions of other faiths, and that is a shortcoming of mine. I believe in societal “wokeness”, and now I am on a mission to become religiously woke. If any mistakes have been made above, they are mine alone. “To err is human” said John Donne, but that doesn’t mean we should admit defeat; rather, we should learn and move forward. Excelsior.

(Ever higher).

p.p.s. The images of Florence Welch, in my personal belief, are introspective in a way that I identify with.

Therefore, she frequently appears in many of my posts. Her intelligence and musical artistry are really wonderful.

This is a personal blog, and no intention has been made to undermine or criticize others’ beliefs; these thoughts and expressions are purely my own.

irish culture


favorites · 2015 edition

1) MOVIE:: The Secret of Roan Inish, a 1994 movie about Fiona, a girl who lives in County Donegal with her grandparents, and is searching for her brother, who was washed away to Roan Inish. (Interestingly, the movie was filmed by an American director; however its veracity was far less suspect than that of John Wayne’s A Quiet Man, which isn’t worth linking to here.)

2) BAND:: The Pogues, as they are known in America. An Irish punk-folk band, formed in London, famous for their song “Fairytale of New York“, though “Young Ned of the Hill” is my favorite.

3) BOOK:: The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. Though the author’s only novel takes place in London, the marvelous fruit himself was an Irishman.

4) SONG:: “Beautiful Day”, U2.

5) GIRL’S NAME:: Maeve, after the warrior queen. The name means “Enchantress”.

6) GIRL SAINT:: St. Dymphna!

7) BOY’S NAME:: Malachy, meaning Messenger.

8) BOY SAINT:: St. Brendan, who sailed to Brazil in the Middle Ages, (or so the legend goes).

9) POP ICON::Bono, for his social work.

10) POET:: Yeats!

12) IRISH HISTORICAL FIGURE:: Éamon de Valera (though American by birth) for his political and Irish independence activism.

13) IRISH-AMERICAN:: Caroline Kennedy


15) MY MOST IRISH HABIT:: Crocheting (but I cannot do lace–yet!)

I wish you all a happy evening!

x. Carey

updated/edited: 30 May 2016



In Malachy McCourt’s A History of Ireland, 

a book told in fifty-odd biographies

of great Irish personalities,

Granuaile, a sixteenth-century intellectual, pirate, and chieftain-queen

on par with her redheaded rival, Elizabeth Tudor,

stuck out.

Granuaile, Anglicized as Grace O’Malley,

was the daughter of the chief of the Ó Máille clan.

She spoke Gaelic, English and Latin,

was a trickster with brilliance rivaling Odysseus,

a master negotiating machine,

and once sailed to England to debate with E.T.

(The extra-terrestrial Tudor)


The Tudors, along with many of

their contemporaries,

wanted to claim the wild beauty of Ireland

and its people,

as their own.

Elizabeth the First did not know Gaelic,

and though Granuaile

took the time and effort to

learn English,

the two influential redheads

conversed in a dead language,

very much alive in the

Early Modern Age.

Sadly, Granuaile’s life

is overshadowed by that of

E.T., namely because

England went on to dominate Ireland until the twentieth century.

Protestantism came to dominate the British Isles,

but the Irish people persevered,

and still are unrivaled

in their music, poetry, folklore,

tales of greats like Granuaile,

spirits, spirituality, and beauty.

(I am not biased!)

Happy Saint Pat’s Day.

x. Carey