(My Mystic Isle is too tropical for Ireland, but for today, can we all agree there is something mystical about the Emerald Isle?)
My mother, whose parents came directly from the Ould Sod in the early 1900s, was stereotypical red-haired Irish, green eyes, hot temper and all. My cousin tells me she was determined to name her children Pat and Mike, for reasons I don’t fathom until this day. I know rafts of us were named Patricia in the 1950s because of movie actress Patricia Neal, and the Tracy/Hepburn movie Pat and Mike came along in 1952, but I don’t remember my mother ever going to the movies.
So my theory is that she wanted us to be saints. I’m named after St Patrick and my brother after St Michael, making us Irish Catholic inside and out.
Since this is St Patrick’s Day, I claim it for my own, even if St Pat was actually English. Of course, he was English. Didn’t the English do their very best to turn Ireland into England? In Pat’s case, he might have had a point, since Irish raiders kidnapped the sixteen-year-old from his wealthy home and essentially forced him into servitude until he escaped six years later. And what does the man do but decide to go back and teach the heathens?