Today is St. Patrick's Day, of course. He's the patron Saint of Ireland. I've been to Ireland once, back in May of 1996. I was part of the entertainment for a group from Texas. They rented one of the restored castles on the Pale, the outskirts of Dublin. That defined the protected area. Anything further was 'beyond the Pale.'
I really liked Dublin, particularly Trinity College. I saw several pages of the Book of Kells in the Trinity College Library. Years ago it was on tour, and I viewed it at the Palace of Legion of Honor here in San Francisco.
Since the English controlled Ireland for many centuries-- and Dublin was in fact almost always an English enclave after being founded by Vikings-- St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin is Church of Ireland, that is connected with the Anglican communion, not Roman Catholic. The Roman Cathedral is St. Mary's. I attended services at both, plus Christ Church Cathedral, a second Anglican Cathedral with a marvelous mixed choir of men and women. Until I sang with the Schola Cantorum, I had never heard such a beautiful blend of women's voices in a liturgical setting.
The location of the first performance of Handel's Messiah was but a short distance from Christ Church Cathedral. But I had to scour the area in order to locate it. There was only a small plaque on a rather delapidated building near some construction sites. Perhaps it has a more appropriate marker today after completion of the project. Oscar Wilde's birthplace at the corner of a lovely Georgian square had a much more visable commemoration!
Today is also my oldest surviving first cousin's 84th birthday! Jim Wiley is still going strong. Cousin Clae and I went to his celebration in Aptos on Saturday, March 21st four years ago. Best wishes to my cousin Jim!