St. Patrick’s Day: Beyond Green Beer…Way Beyond

pThere are many ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Most of them involve raising a mug of beer. Below are a few images I have of the man of the hour.

Liner Notes from Sweet Burning Light, a sampler of Celtic and Celtic Christian music released in 1999: “Long ago in Ireland, on the Hill of Tara, a fire was to be lit by the High King’s druids marking the celebration of a pagan feast. The tradition was strictly enforced–anyone who was to light a fire prior to the king’s fire on that night would “be lit in the king’s palace the next day.” Yet, that same evening, on the nearby Hill of Slane, Patrick lit a fire to celebrate Easter. It not only preceded the High King’s fire, but it burned even brighter. The king call his druid priests to him only to hear them prophecy that Patrick’s fire would overcome his own fire and burn forever.”

St. Patrick in the Spirit by John Doan

Liner Notes from “the book of secrets” written by Loreena McKennitt while on tour in Italy in 1995 while reading Thomas Cahill’s “How the Irish Save Civilization” chronicling the life of Christian monks during the Western Dark Ages 500–1500 AD or CE (roughly Fall of the Roman Empire to Renaissance): “Monasteries were ofter founded in harsh, remote outposts like the Skellig Islands off Ireland’s west coast. Monks occupied themselves with the copying of religious literary and philosophical texts. Surviving manuscripts tell us much about the cultural identity and even individual characters of their creators via both the books’ beautiful ornamentation, and in the margins, the scribes’ own notations of a whimsical, personal or even racy nature.”

(I think some of the photos in the video below are from the actual Skellig Islands. Keep in mind, these islands would have been the absolute farthest western reaches of Western Civilization during the Dark Ages.)

Skellig by Loreena McKennitt

Just for the heck of it, here are Celtic Woman with “The Voice.” I love the juxtaposition of the sweet female voice and heavy drums.

And finally, a nice Irish Gaelic lullaby to help you drift off to sleep after maybe a pint too many.