For hundreds of years the Irish have been leaving Ireland’s shores but their patron saint, Patrick, whose day is celebrated on Monday, did it in reverse. He wasn’t Irish but a native of Briton in the 5th century. Believed to have been kidnapped by pirates at the age of sixteen, he was taken as a slave to Ireland and lived there for six years before escaping and returning to his home in Briton. He became a cleric and eventually returned to northern and western Ireland as a missionary and in later life became Bishop of Armagh.
Of course, there will be celebrations in Liverpool of one kind or another this weekend and on St Patrick’s Day, what with the city boasting a large number of Irish. There’ll be food, music and dancing. Liverpool FC headquarters is said to be putting on a special menu that day which will include potato and leek soup with soda bread for starters and finishing with chocolate bread and butter pudding. No doubt Irish whiskey and Guinness will be the drinks of the day.
I was amused to find online that - just for fun - you can play a scene from films of the worst Irish accents created by famous film stars - they included - Tom Cruise, Sean Connery, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, and I must mention Irishman, Pierce Brosnan. It also says somewhere else that a number of famous people (mainly Americans) claim to have Irish blood. Writers have to be careful about dialect. Overdo it and the reader cannot understand what your characters are talking about. So I'm careful to play the Liverpool accent down and have just one talking the lingo.
I’ve probably mentioned before that I was one of those Liverpudlians who when I went to Ireland, denied having a drop of the Irish in my veins. The taxi driver in Co Mayo on the west coast, refused to believe my sister and I, saying if you came from Liverpool, you were bound to have some Irish in you. His words have since proved prophetical because I discovered on Ancestry that I have a great-great-great grandfather who was born in Ireland, also my husband’s grandfather was born in Co Antrim. The Irish family connection was strengthened when one of my nieces, Christine, married an Irishman. The wedding took place, not far from Naas, which happened to get a mention in one of my old Mills & Boon romances set in Ireland during the reign of Richard II. It was great fun writing it because for me Ireland had a touch of magic about it even in those days. As according to legend, St Patrick discovered in his day when he battled against the Druids for the souls of the Irish and eventually won.