Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Green beer and apparel-based pinching may have their place in the hearts of Irish-for-a-day-Americans, indeed, "Plastic Paddys" the world over. But this day holds a greater and dearer significance to those who faithfully honor their Irish descent, like myself and millions of others in this country. Saint Patrick's Day is not merely a day for drunken revelry and offensive stereotypes. It is an occasion to remember the history of a people oppressed, who bravely broke the bonds of tyranny. It is a time to consider whether a nation divided can stand, even as the latest, most P.C. incarnation of British Empire stubbornly continues to rule in the North. It is a feast of the Catholic Church, when we venerate a great saint. But, perhaps most importantly, it is a day to appreciate and revere the authentic spirit of Ireland, and what it means to be Irish.

On this national and patronal day of Ireland, I think it's important also to celebrate the great strides made by women on the island and their descendants. Let's remember that the Republic has had not just one but two female presidents. I've forgotten exactly how many female presidents we've had here, but I seem to recall a smaller number than that (please excuse the sarcasm). In the video below, current President of the Republic of Ireland, Mary McAleese speaks about women's empowerment both in the Republic and in Northern Ireland. It's a bit long, but very interesting and inspiring. Happy Saint Patrick's Day to all!

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