Nothing seems to be sacred any more. Brian Williams was not on the moon? Really? Damn, there goes that ten-spot. St. Patrick isn’t Irish? Oh, my. It’s not that there aren’t snakes in Ireland, it’s that there weren’t any in the first place. Will it never end?
There are more stories dealing with the snakes than there are glasses of green beer in the misty Isles. They don’t drink green beer in County Cork? That’s just about enough, now. According to today’s pagans and Druids, it may have been the Druids that were metaphorically driven from Ireland, but other pagans even challenge that. The Druid priests, however did have serpents tattooed on their arms. Today’s pagans don’t much care for St. Patrick.
The green we so relish, as being a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day (remember getting pinched if you weren’t wearin’ some?), may not date before the 18th century, about the time Irish independence supporters used the color for representation. A blue or greenish blue was more apt to be found on uniforms and such. And of course, the color orange came from those that supported the Church of England.
Back to those snakes for just a bit. Some scholars have been quoted as saying there weren’t any there for our good saint to drive out, and hadn’t been any since the massive ice sheet pulled itself away from the Island following the last glaciated period. If there had been any before the last ice age, they would have frozen to death.
But, one scholar noted that they wouldn’t be there after because it’s too far for a snake to swim from Great Britain. The man never heard of boats? Snakes and rats and bats and other members of the flora and fauna of this fair earth travel the world on boats, ships, canoes, and rafts.
Drinking green beer is purely American. No Irishman in his right mind is going to deface a fine Irish Stout with green stuff. If you must color the Truckee River green, as it flows gently through Reno, have at it, but you stay back from my stout, my ale, my beer.
Ah, ‘tis a fine time now, oh, wait, one more little story. Don’t know if this one is truth or not, but funny, anyway. Seems long ago and far away, an Irishman with a snarly sense of humor invented the bagpipe and drove his friends and family nuts. Well, he visited Scotland during a pageant of some kind and offered the instrument to the Scots, who gratefully accepted the gift.
And to this day, the Scots don’t understand the joke.
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