St Patricks Day is just around the corner. As the wife of an Irishman, I have been frequently reminded in recent weeks of how many days are left before the calendar reaches March 17.
March is also known as Irish-American Heritage Month (and as National Womens History Month. Check out the article on page 15 for some interesting history.)
According to history, St. Patricks Day was originally a religious holiday in honor of the man who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century. It eventually evolved into a celebration of all things Irish.
According to 2007 population estimates, there were 36.5 million U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry, which just happened to be more than eight times the population of Ireland itself (more than 4 million).
Interestingly enough, 24% percent of Massachusetts (my husbands home state) residents were of Irish ancestry in 2007, compared 12% for the nation as a whole in 2007
From January through October 2008, the United States imported $26.2 billion in goods from Ireland. Exports from the United States to Ireland totaled $7.4 billion for the same period.
Superstitious folks may want to visit one of the four places in the U.S. named Shamrock, which is also the floral emblem of Ireland. They are Mount Gay-Shamrock, in West Virginia, Shamrock, Texas, both small towns with 2,623 and 1,830 residents, respectively. Theres also Shamrock Lakes, Indiana, with 154 residents and Shamrock, Oklahoma with 123 residents. Perhaps visitation to one of these luckyÃ‚Â spots will keep unlucky events away on Friday the thirteenth this month.
There are nine places in the United States that share the name of Irelands capital, Dublin. Since Census 2000, Dublin, California, has surpassed Dublin, Ohio, as the most populous of these places (43,960 compared with 37,954, respectively, as of July 1, 2007).
If youre still not into the spirit of St. Paddys Day, then you might consider paying a visit to Emerald Isle, North Carolina, with 3,651 residents. Other appropriate places in which to spend the day: the township of Irishtown, Illinois, several places or townships named CloverÃ‚Â (in South Carolina, Illinois, Minnesota and Pennsylvania) and the township of Cloverleaf, Minnesota.
If you prefer to stay a little closer to home, head on over to Bostons Lake House Grill on Tuesday, March 17 for some Irish fun. While youre there, you can enjoy a traditional Irish feast of corned beef, cabbage and red potatoes. Theyre located just two short miles from Roosevelt Lake on State Route 188, nine miles south of dam. Check out their ad on the back page of this issue.
Speaking of Irish feasts, heres an interesting tidbit: in 2007, U.S. beef and cabbage production totaled 1.5 billion and 2.6 billion pounds, respectively. Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patricks Day dish. The corned beef that celebrants dine on may very well have originated in Texas, which produced 6.8 billion pounds worth of beef, while the cabbage most likely came from California, which produced 581 million pounds, or New York, which produced 580 million pounds.
The month of March also signals that spring is nearly here. Temperatures in the 80s this week give residents and visitors alike plenty of reasons to take advantage of the unseasonal warmup. The Roosevelt Lake area was inundated with visitors this past weekend enjoying all that this recreational area has to offer them. Temperatures are expected to be back in the low seventies (seventy-three is the seasonal norm for this time of year) by next Sunday, which is still great boating and fishing weather.
Since Im on the topic, Im hearing that the crappie and bass fishing are really picking up right now. Recent reports have fishermen (and women) catching 40 plus nice-sized crappie out of Roosevelt. Bass fishing is also picking up. If youre looking for some rest and relaxation, Roosevelt Lake is the place to be this summer.
Until next issue . . . take care, and meanwhile:
Dance like theres nobody watching. Love like youll never get hurt. Sing like theres nobody listening. Live like its heaven on earth.
Karon Schneider, publisher