For today’s blog and curated Spotify playlist, I am paying homage to my paternal heritage with a celebration of all things Irish, for St Patrick’s Day.
Whilst I have Celtic blood on both sides of my family (I am Scottish primarily on my mum’s side), the Irish side is from my dad. His mum – my paternal grandmother – was from Skibereen, and my late great uncles Pat and Timmy, who were lost with the sinking of the HMS Kite in World War II, were also from there.
I am really proud to be part Irish, and now I’m older I really embrace all the culture, music and traditions that my dad bought us up on. It thus explains why I have a fondness for the music of The Corrs, Mary Black, The Pogues and The Cranberries.
It also explains why one of my all-time favourite sitcoms is Father Ted, why one of my favourite Woolies bargain bin purchases at the age of 10 was a dance pop reimagining of the traditional number ‘Tell Me Ma’ by Northern Irish one hit wonders Sham Rock, and why the interval performance at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest of Michael Flatley and Jean Butler in Riverdance elicits some Pavlovian desire in me to start having a go at a jig (if you’ve not seen it, then I beg of you to watch it. It’s breath taking).
I only visited Ireland for the first time just shy of two years ago, when I stayed in Cork. I really want to go back some day, and see more of it. I clearly remember upon arrival, walking down Oliver Plunkett Street, and talking to my dad on the phone as I did so, saying that I felt instinctively like I’d been there before, even though it was my first time.
Let me therefore raise a glass to any of my fellow Irish or part Irish readers, and wish you a very happy St Patrick’s Day, however you may plan to celebrate – and I hope you enjoy the playlist.