Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day!!

What a day! St. Patrick's Day (more like St. Patrick's Week...) is one of my favorite holidays. Besides the usual revelry and hooliganizing that comes this time of year, I also appreciate the chance to celebrate Irish heritage and culture (hooleys, bodhrans, or grog anyone?).

Growing up in Pittsburgh, like many northern cities, St. Patrick's Day was like Christmas come early. Parade attendance was virtually mandatory, regardless of your background (though nearly everyone I knew growing up claimed some Irish ancestry) and every civic group, marching band, politician, and pub fought for the right to march. Then there were the competing festivals and musicians following the parade, and the obligatory bar crawls. My Irish Father usually rolls his eyes and mutters something under his breath about "Americans igits and their parades. F***ing amateurs...", but even he eventually gets into the spirit.

More importantly, after 8 years of that teetotaler in the White House, we finally have a president who knows how to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. I'm not usually a particular fan of our new president, but today he's come a long way in my book. First of all, the water in the fountains at the White House have been dyed green in honor of the day. As is traditional, the president is meeting with Irish leaders in the White House today as well; first with Taoiseach Brian Cowan in the Oval Office, and later with the two leaders of the power sharing government in Northern Ireland (Robinson and McGuinness). After a nice luncheon on Capitol Hill with Speaker Pelosi, President Obama is hosting not 1, but 2 cocktail parties at the White House! I have every intention of finding a way into one...

Most exciting of all: Obama announced this morning that Pittsburgh Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney has been appointed Ambassador to Ireland! Great man, from a great city, representing one great nation to another. America!!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day