St. Patrick’s Day Shopping

No, I know, I know, Saint Patrick’s Day is not about shopping and carousing. I totally get that! In fact, Pat Gohn’s column features a terrific exploration of Saint Patrick’s Breastplate.

But sometimes a girl likes to shop, you know? Sometimes one has to observe the niceties and pick up a birthday or anniversary gift. Sometimes one is simply in the mood to give someone a gift, for no reason at all — in which case Saint Patrick’s Day is as good an excuse as any.

My husband, who is a gem
, has been losing stuff of late, and he wandered in a week or so ago sad to report that he had lost his favorite Irish cap, for the second time. Now, I know you’re thinking, “Anchoress, if he keeps “losing” the thing, maybe he doesn’t really like it?” But trust me, he’s worn a variation of this cap for as long as we’ve been married, and he really does like it, even though he lost the one I bought him in Donegal, and the replacement to it. This cap from Amazon is a fair price and will make a good gift for Saint Pat’s Day, and I want to give it to him, because I lurves him.

Needing a ladies gift as well, I was tickled to find this mobius bracelet inscribed with part of the Breastplate. It’s not something I would ordinarily go for — not everyone likes sterling silver — but I think it’s unique and honestly, if you’re going to wear a few words of prayer, this is certainly a helpful one.

Of course, the lady I’m thinking of purchasing the bracelet for might be happier to receive these classic Irish Coffee glasses, since I have suspected she’s been coveting them, or something similar, for a while, and she’s not the sort to buy them for herself.

Speaking of Irish Coffee there was a terrific piece in last weeks NY Times Magazine, wherein Rosie Schaap shared Kingsley Amis’ recipe along with other whiskey-based libations. Read it — you’ll enjoy!

For a bookish friend, I am torn between ordering a copy of Thomas Cahill’s excellent How the Irish Saved Civilization, which I read years ago and enjoyed very much. But then, there appears to be a modest resurgence of interest in learning the Irish language, and that might be as good an excuse as any to pick up Daniel Cassidy’s How the Irish Invented Slang, which I also read with great enjoyment. It’s a confounding language — I once took some lessons at a local Hibernian lodge and decidedly quickly that the thing was beyond my ken — but it’s astonishing how much of our everyday, speech — words like scram, jazz, rookie, scoot and wallop — have their origins in Eire. And I may have just talked myself into choosing that!

And just think, Easter shopping is around the corner

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Joanne K McPortland

    Lovely stuff, thank you! And even though I am ambivalently Irish, I love caps, the Breastplate (was going to blog on it myself but now I can look forward to Pat’s, so thanks for the heads up!), Mobius strips, whiskey, Irish coffee, Cahill’s book (the Irish one is the best of the series, to my mind), and Irish language, so what a treasure house.

  • Mary

    Love, love, love everything Irish!! I might just be a tad Irish… my grandmother’s name was Hibernia.

  • Roz Smith

    There are some fabulous sales on real Irish Waterford crystal on e-Bay these days. I picked up a pair of Lismore Irish Coffee mugs there this past winter.

    I love making an Irish Coffee or a Hot Buttered Rum when I come in from working in the yard on a cold day. There is something particularly pleasing about using such an elegant glass while still dressed in my grass and dirt stained gardening clothes.

  • Romulus

    It’s been over ten years since I read it, but as I recall the Cahill book is more than a little prickly about Petrine authority in Ireland (and by extension, the USA). Was there not also a whiff of Kennedy special pleading for that family’s public independence in the face of Roman calls to obedience? Notwithstanding my own Irish grandfather, I put the book aside as tiresomely tribal, and have not returned.

  • megthered

    My mother was from Ireland and my grandmother spoke the Irish. She would sometimes went into it when she was excited or angry. I it always made me smile to hear it, even if I didn’t know what she was saying. But it is a difficult language to learn.

  • 5/8th Irish

    Waterford crystal, sadly, is now made in Germany.

    Give your friend both books, but only buy one. Add the new one to the used one. :)

    Me own muther is from Ireland and can she bake the bread! Tis the reason I’m over weight, sure!

  • Gayle Miller

    Despite my Hungarian ancestry, I ADORE the Irish and always have. I grew up in a predominantly Irish neighborhood on the West Side of Cleveland and my one aunt married two Irishmen because she said they were very good with certain intimate behaviors! I was that shocked when she said that! Lest we forget, our parents and other older relatives were young once too! Come to think of it I was young once. Facing age 70 in just a few months – moving in with my sister because I don’t do living alone very well these days. The mind goes on, however, and I pray that it is the last to depart! So I can continue to love the Irish and their many contributions to our nation’s exuberant youth!