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Celebrating Saint Patrick's Day

Whether books, bagpipes, dancing or dining delight you, our area has much to offer in the way of Saint Patrick's Day celebrations.

On Saturday, March 13th, the Blue and Gray Brewing Company will host the 8th Annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade. There will be pipers, Irish dancers, riders on horseback, beauty queens, and fire trucks. Little lads and lasses will enjoy face painting, historic trains and a magic show--all for free.  Reservations can be made for Irish and American refreshments, with proceeds to benefit local volunteer fire and rescue departments. Entertainment, including Irish fiddle music, commences at 11 am, and the parade begins at noon.

Elsewhere, there are plenty of celebrations for the older set.  Potomac Point Winery is hosting a Wearing of the Green Weekend and will also have special entertainments on Saint Patrick's Day itself. Other places to try your luck for an Irish experience include: Paddy's Steakhouse in North Stafford, downtown's Blarney Stone Restaurant, and the Irish Brigade Tavern by the train station.

Journey to Ireland by Book

Cover to An Irish Country GirlEven if you can't make it out of the house for a celebration, these new novels and non-fiction will bring a bit of the Emerald Isle to you:

Saint Patrick of Ireland, a Biography by Philip Freeman
"Born in Britain late in the fourth century to an aristocratic family, Patrick was raised as a Roman citizen and a nominal Christian, destined for the privileged life of the nobility. But just before his sixteenth birthday, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and abducted to Ireland, where he spent six lonely years as a slave, tending sheep. Trapped in a foreign land, despondent, and at the mercy of his master, Patrick's ordeal turned him from an atheist to a true believer. After a vision in which God told him he would go home, Patrick escaped captivity and, following a perilous journey, returned to his astonished parents. Even more astonishing was his announcement that he intended to go back to Ireland and devote the rest of his life to ministering to the people who had once enslaved him."

Brendan by Morgan Llywelyn
Follow Ireland's other famous saint as he makes his journey to the Isle of the Blessed.

An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor
In 1920s County Cork, farmer's daughter Maureen O'Hanlon discovers she has a gift for seeing fairies, spirits, and the dreaded banshee.

Birthright: The True Story That Inspired Kidnapped by A. Roger Ekirch
"...recounts the saga of James Annesley, the presumptive heir of five aristocratic titles and scion of the mighty house of Annesley. Kidnapped at twelve years of age by his uncle, James was shipped from Dublin to America in 1728 as an indentured servant. He finally managed to escape after thirteen years, returning to Ireland to bring his nemesis, the Earl of Anglesea, to justice in one of the epic trials of the century."

Darling Jim: A Novel by Christian Moerk
"When two sisters and their aunt are found dead in their suburban Dublin home, it seems that the secret behind their untimely demise will never be known. But then Niall, a young mailman, finds a mysterious diary in the post office's dead-letter bin. From beyond the grave, Fiona Walsh shares the most tragic love story he's ever heard--and her tale has only just begun in this modern gothic novel of suspense." Cover to The Tain

Shannon: A Novel by Frank Delaney
"In the summer of 1922, Robert Shannon, a young American hero of the Great War, lands in Ireland. A Marine chaplain, he was present at the frightful Battle of Belleau Wood, and he still suffers from shell shock. His mentor hopes that a journey Robert had always wanted to make–to find his family roots–will restore his equilibrium and his vocation. Unbeknownst to Robert, a safety net has been spread beneath him: All along the banks of the river that bears his family name, a chain of support has been put into place–to guide him, nurture him, and protect him. But there is more to the story: On his return from the war, Robert Shannon witnessed startling and lethal corruption in the Archdiocese of Boston. As a consequence, he has also been sent to Ireland to secure his silence–permanently."

The Táin: A New Translation of the Táin bó Cúailnge translated and with an introduction by Ciaran Carson
"Dating from the eighth century, Táin Bó Cúailnge is the oldest Irish epic, a heroic mythic tale on par with Beowulf and The Aeneid. The sprawling, dramatic tale of the legendary warrior Cú Chulainn and his battle against the invading army of Connacht over the fabled Brown Bull of Cooley, The Táin is an enthralling epic of heroism, magic, bloodshed, and betrayal. The wellspring of Irish literature from Yeats to Joyce, The Táin is the story of the emergence of a hero with superhuman strength and supernatural powers. It is a paean to the Irish landscape and a bawdy and contentious marital farce. Filled with phenomenal battle scenes of hand-to-hand combat and clashes between massive armies, Cú Chulainn’s heroic exploits contain the historical seeds of the struggle for Irish nationalism as well as the mythic roots of the traditional Irish love of nature."