“May the road rise to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine on your face, the rain fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.” – Irish Blessing
This beautiful poem dates back to Celtic heritage that is celebrated in our precious little town of Dublin, Texas (the Irish Capital of Texas) each March. This year, we enjoyed the celebration as new residents and embraced the festivities. The Saturday morning began with a stroll through the Dublin History Museum followed by the World Championship Rodeo History Museum (more on those later) before the parade. Growing up in a small town, I remember the years of riding on tissue paper covered floats waving to the crowds. I sat under a rainbow of balloons with auburn temp-dyed hair and ruby glittered shoes as Dorothy when our 4-H club rode in with a Wizard of Oz theme. Oh, to be 10 again! To this day, I can still hear the sounds of the clickity-clack of my palomino horse’s hooves on the asphalt from the later parade days I was horseback. This year, we stood with our friends anticipating the sites, catching candy in cowboy hats, hearts full of nostalgia. After the last tractor made its way through downtown, the main streets were alive with local vendors, bagpipe music and the mingling of those dressed up for the Irish costume contest. Who doesn’t want a photo with a leprechaun?! Even dogs were dressed for the occasion. To make the day even better, we learned that Celtic Title arranged for every Dublin resident to own 1 square foot of land in Ireland, so we are now Lords and Ladies of the beautiful country from which so many of our ancestors came. The day was completed by our browsing of the “Chicken House Flea Market” on the edge of town that is literally in an old chicken house. We are now proud owners of freshly canned peach butter and squash pickles thanks to this outing and feel right at home in this town with so much personality.
Celebrating this Irish heritage, my mind steps beyond the vibrant clover and Celtic melodies and into the lives of the Irish potato farmers. Their lives were challenged by droughts and famine in the mid-1800’s. Over 3 million fled to America in search of better circumstances, finding low-paying work laboring in coal mines and laying the foundation of our country’s railroad. They faced discrimination, religious tension and dangerous work environments (remember the famous photo of the men sitting on the skyscraper beam?). These “Hands that Built America” were full of resilience, hope and a pride in hard work. At 4:13, we’ll honor this generation that founded the town we now call home and with our hard work, hope and resilience along with a return to the annual festivities.