Having grown up in Hungary Hill in Springfield, I developed great pride in my Irish heritage. Hungary Hill was named because of the immigrants who came from the west coast of Ireland during the great potato famine. Not long after the famine, an epidemic of tuberculosis struck the same area causing more immigration to the United States. Many of the new settlers found their way from County Kerry to the Hill which was fondly called “Home of the Irish.”
The pride that the Irish have in their country is overwhelming. Many countries have invaded Ireland but the Irish always fought back and succeeded. However, most Irishmen consider their greatest battles with the English in 1916 which was called the Easter Rising. The fight went on for years until a truce was formed, a few short years ago. So peace has come to Ireland but the past has not been forgotten.
My great grand Uncle Thomas Ashe was one of the heroes of the Rising. He was imprisoned where he was force fed by the British and during his struggles, he died. This infuriated the Irish and he had the largest funeral that Dublin had ever seen. He actually wrote a poem before his death where he seems to predict his demise and his profound love of Ireland. I am still trying to find out more about him and his life.
The Irish have struggled and fought invaders throughout history. They are extremely proud and face life with a unique sense of humor. They have extreme pride in and love for their country.
As St. Patick’s Day approaches, there is more to celebrate than one can imagine. Their spirit, persistence and love for their country and willingness a fight to protect it says so much about Ireland and its people. It is no wonder that the University of Notre Dame prides itself on being called the Fighting Irish.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy the fact that this day is more than a parade, music, wearing of the green and celebration. It is a reminder of the history and struggles of a great nation and its people.