Independence Day

8 Jul

The Irish have a strong affinity for the U.S. 4th of July celebration, and it is partly a result of the Irish diaspora that has led so many Irish people to settle in the states.  It is also partly a kinship that the Irish feel for the American colonialists throwing off the mantle of English rule.  Without getting too political about it all, I was surprised by, and proud of the amount of attention paid to the 4th of July over here.

The ancient city of Limerick (where I work and row) declared its intention to have the biggest 4th of July celebration outside of the U.S.  – and their spirit was reflected by U.S. flags hanging from a great many businesses downtown.  Coming into Limerick, you could see the Stars and Stripes flying high on the bridges over the Shannon – it really was quite a sight.

I was fortunate enough to represent my company at a 4th of July event hosted by the Limerick Chamber of Commerce for the U.S. Embassy representatives  and while I did meet a lot of very interesting business people, I was particularly pleased to recieve the U.S. Embassy’s “friendship pin” with the dual flags of the U.S. and Ireland on it.  It’s a small thing, but I somehow felt that with my feet in both countries simultaneously, it would be a good pin for me to wear on my lapel.

As for the Limerick celebration, there was a lot going on over the weekend, but not so much going on during the actual 4th which fell on a Wednesday.  Nonetheless, I started to understand what Mary had been through all those years in S.F. during St. Patrick’s day when everyone wanted to text her or call her and wish the best to an actual Irish person.  I was personally quite touched by the number of people here who acknowledged my nationality on the actual day with a call, a text or a “happy 4th” greeting to me.

To mark the occasion, Mary and the girls came to Limerick for a meal at the most American place we could think of: a chain of 1950’s style Diners called Eddie Rocket’s (it was either that or a Mexican place I heard about).  But we avoided the crual irony of Mexican food on the 4th and milkshakes and pie were the hallmarks of the first ex-pat Independence Day we celebrated here in Ireland.

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