For those of us who don’t speak or read Irish (which includes me), Érinn Go Brách, a traditional St. Patrick’s Day greeting, means “Ireland forever.”
For me St. Patrick’s Day has a great deal of importance, St. Patrick being of equal importance to Protestants and Catholics. Additionally I have enough Irish blood in my veins to make it count, though often tempered by English blood.
Over the years, St. Patrick’s Day has become more than simply a celebration of Patrick of Ireland, but of Irish culture.
I was reading Paul Ryan’s book, The Way Forward, and it mentioned a poster, made by the Irish government, put in steamers bearing Irish immigrants to America in the 1850’s. I think it’s advice is useful for more than simply the Irish in our nation.
In the United States, labor is there the first condition of life, and industry is the lot of all men. Wealth is not idolized, but there is no degradation connected with labour; on the contrary, it is honorable, and held in general estimation.
In the remote parts of America, an industrious youth may follow any occupation without being looked down upon or sustain loss of character, and he may rationally expect to raise himself in the world by his labor.
In America, a man’s success must altogether rest with himself. It will depend on his industry, sobriety, diligence and virtue; and if he does not succeed, in nine cases out of ten, the cause of the failure is to be found in the deficiencies of his own character.
Let us strive this St. Patrick’s Day to, not only enjoy wearing green and trying to sound Irish, but also to show the same kind of industry and virtue as our Irish ancestors before us, those who risked everything to come to a land where they could build their lives by the labor of their hands.