On the 17th of March every year, we see the world turn green in a celebration of Ireland, its people and a culture that is adored globally. Though it may feel easy to say that St Patrick’s Day is a simple festival that brings with it a sea of green, an abundance of Guinness drinking and a unique, annual day of shamrock appreciating, for us here at Aran Woollen Mills, it’s so much more than that.
St Patrick’s Day began as a christian festival, celebrating the man that brought christianity to the emerald isle. However, over the years, it’s expanded its reach and become a symbol of Irishness, an opportunity to celebrate that and a chance for Irish diaspora to connect with their roots, no matter where they’ve found themselves. There’s something truly special about being Irish. For a country so small, the reach of the Irish is mighty, and we would feel confident in saying that there may not be a corner on earth that hasn’t been graced by an Irish person’s presence. There are so many ways that the Irish have impacted our world for the better, and so this year, we’d thought we’d pay homage to that.
THE SOUND OF IRELAND
From the comforting tones of an Irish reel, to the sound of the Clancy brothers echoing throughout every Irish bar on earth, if you find an Irish community, you’ll discover their music. It’s incredible to see how a nation has maintained and cherished its musical heritage for such a long time, and there truly is nothing we love more than hearing Irish musicians playing with passion and precision. For us, music holds the stories, history and heritage of our nation, and it’s amazing to see how the world appreciates it in all its glory. This St Patrick’s Day, we’d highly encourage you to seek out the Irish musicians in your area, pull up a chair and bask in the sounds of Ireland, past, present and future. If you can’t find a live version, check out the first performance of Riverdance online. You’ll not be disappointed.
A COUNTRY’S WARMTH
Irish communities across the world are renowned for their warmth and welcoming attitude. There’s magic in the age-old tradition of Irish storytelling, where communities gather together to listen, share and celebrate one another. For us, that’s what St Patrick’s Day is all about. If you explore each county of the emerald isle on the 17th of March you’ll find concerts, poetry readings, storytelling events, children’s parties, dancing, singing, sports, Irish language classes and everything in between. It’s a day for connection, openness and true celebration. Something we love about St Patrick’s Day, is that it really is a festival for everyone. No matter where you’ve come from, no matter how you’re connected to the Irish land and no matter who you are, St Patrick’s Day is a day for community.
TASTED AND TREASURED
We can’t celebrate Irish heritage without celebrating the tastes of Ireland that every one of us treasure. Of course, we have to begin with the tried, tested and globally adored, pint of Guinness. Born in Ireland and loved across the world, a pint of the black stuff is a must for those celebrating on the 17th of March. It is said that the best pint you’ll ever have resides on Irish soil, and it doesn’t taste the same elsewhere! We’re not sure what truth there is in that, but we’re guessing there’s just something a little sweeter about standing on the land it was born, as you take your first sip. For the teetotal among us, we’ve got soda bread, potato bread, Irish wheaten and the traditional and super tasty, Irish stew. We’re not short of culinary genius here in Ireland, and on St Patrick’s Day, the whole world has a taste.
CELEBRATING IRELAND IN STYLE
Of course, last but not least, we have to think about the impact the Irish have had on fashion over the last number of decades. Each year, we debate about what we’re going to wear on the big day. For St Patrick’s Day, green, of course, seems the obvious choice. Reflective of the beauty and varying tones gifted to us from the Irish landscape, it’s wonderful to see a sea of green jumpers, t-shirts and painted faces as we attend our local parade. However, this year, we’ll be wearing the traditional Irish Aran Sweater. Nothing speaks to Ireland’s heritage more than the magic of Aran knitwear. Inspired by the traditional dress of Irish fishermen, knitted by local Irish hands and carrying with them the stories, traditions and myths passed on by generations before us. Is there really a better choice for your St Patrick’s Day outfit? Over the last number of years, we’ve seen iconic faces proudly wearing an Aran sweater, paying homage to the skill and craftsmanship of Aran communities past and present. The Clancy Brothers, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell and Elvis Presley, to name but a few! A small piece of Ireland, crafted to last you a lifetime. It doesn’t get much more Irish than that.
So there you have it, some of our favourite reasons to celebrate Ireland and our tips on how to indulge in the magic of this St Patrick’s Day. At Aran Woollen Mills, the most important thing we’d like you to remember, is that no matter what your heritage is, no matter where you’ve come from and no matter where you’re going, we’d like to welcome you to share in our Irish heritage, now and every day. On St Patrick’s Day, we all have a bit of Irish charm within us. Awaken yours with the perfect piece of Aran, today.
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Images Courtesy Failte Ireland