Family Activities to Learn about Ireland

“These things I warmly wish to you —
Someone to love
Some work to do
A bit o’ sun
A bit o’ cheer
And a guardian angel always near.”

Festivals of Ireland

Bloomsday

Bloomsday is celebrated each year on June 16th in Dublin. It is a celebration of the Irish writer, James Joyce and his novel, Ulysses and the festivities usually include readings and theatrical re-enactments of the events of the novel, featuring Molly & Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. The events of the novel took place on a single day – June 16th, 1904, and the story is considered by many to be the greatest modern classic. Bloomsday was first celebrated in Dublin in 1954 and this year, as the 100th anniversary of the fictitious events of the novel, the city plans to celebrate with a 5-month festival, going from April 1st to August 31st.

 

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland which celebrates the patron saint of the country, St. Patrick. Held on March 17th every year, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated all over the world by those of Irish descent.

A parade is held in many of the Irish cities, towns and villages and a special mass is attended by many of the Irish Catholics. St. Patrick’s Day is considered a Catholic holy day in Ireland, though in recent years it has evolved into a more secular holiday. There are also parades held in different parts of the world to celebrate this day. In Chicago they not only hold a St. Patrick’s Day parade, but they also dye the river green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Many cities throughout Canada and the U.S. hold parades and special St. Patrick’s Day events.

The traditional emblem of St. Patrick’s Day is the green shamrock. St. Patrick was known for using the 3-leafed shamrock to explain the concept of the Christian Holy Trinity, and many of his followers wore the shamrock on his feast day after his death. Today the shamrock has become of symbol of Ireland itself and St. Patrick’s Day in particular.