Books for Everyone!

March 2018

Cead Mile Failte

A Hundred Thousand Welcomes!

In Irish Gaelic, it's spelled Céad Míle Fáilte. In Gaelic (Scottish), Ceud Mìle Fàilte. In both languages, the phrase means "A Hundred Thousand Welcomes.”

A few years ago, I chanced to correspond with a writer in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Rather insistently he asked me if, through my writing, I had successfully dealt with the Irish side of me. I answered that I wasn’t sure that I had. Honestly, I wasn’t too sure that I’d even tried!

That question got me to thinking about just how Irish I am, and in truth, I’m not very Irish. I’m half-Dutch from my father’s people, and approximately 1/4 Scots-Irish through the Northern Irish lineage of my mother (the remaining 1/4 of my salad of racial genes comes from Switzerland).

Within the Scots-Irish part of me, the Scots always seems to dominate, or conquer, the Irish part of that hyphenated term. I do admit to being very superstitious at times, but the superstition is of my own unique variety, not owing to any culture or heritage.

I’ve therefore not felt truly Irish on this day of celebrating all things Irish, and I became a whole lot more Scots-Irish-ish when I married a Milligan (who is half-Northern Italian). And so I always welcome the hundred thousand welcomes on this day of celebration of Saint Patrick!

My St. Patty’s Day essay last year (March 2017) offers more details in terms of traditional Irish food and family tradition (I am very traditional about tradition). In this essay I offer the most simple but heartfelt of Irish blessings. The Irish do them so well! This Scots-Irish lass sends these blessings with vigor!

May you always have walls for the winds,

a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,

laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,

and all your heart might desire.

May the sun shine, all day long,

everything go right, and nothing wrong.

May those you love bring love back to you,

and may all the wishes you wish come true!

May your feet never sweat,

your neighbor give you ne'er a threat.

When flowers bloom, I hope you'll not sneeze,

and may you always have someone to squeeze!

May you always walk in sunshine.

May you never want for more.

May Irish angels rest their wings

right beside your door.