Although this is the Saint's Feast Day and is due some solemnity, here in the US it is also celebrated by drinking green beer, eating corned beef and cabbage, and listening to Celtic music. Somewhere back a ways in my family tree, there are folks who made the ocean voyage from Ireland to America. In honor of Ireland and Irish heritage, here's some Irish things that make me happy.
U2 on any day. Here from a performance at President Obama's inauguration.
Here's a couple of my favorite of my favorite fictional Irish characters.
Patrick Harper (Daragh O'Malley) with Ramona and little Patrick from Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series. (With a side order of Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe.)
Dr. Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany) from Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series.
Irish monks in post-Roman Ireland created illuminated manuscripts, often copies of the four Gospels. Trinity College in Dublin has the Book of Kells created about 800 or a bit earlier. It's an awesome example of insular art. Matthew's Gospel has a portion beginning with the word Christ and often the first two letters of this word, chi and rho, were given special decoration. In the Book of Kells, this monogram fills an entire page. In these illuminated works, often the monks would decorate individual words or margins with drawings of religious symbols, animals and people.
Here's a small image of the Chi Rho page from the Book of Kells. It's worth looking at in higher resolution to see details of faces and the intricate line drawings.
An example of page decoration
Here's some music to wake you up. How could you have a celebration of Ireland without the Pogues?
Or by Solas (although they're from the US)
Finally, I was named after a song. Here's the version from the album we always played on St. Patrick's Day when I was a kid.
Fad saol agat, gob fliuch, agus bás in Eirinn.