BioDiversity & Inclusion: myPerspective – What St. Patrick’s Day Means To Me

BioDiversity and Inclusion
Embracing her Irish roots, Nuala celebrates St. Patrick’s Day by sharing her family story and childhood memories through our BioDiversity & Inclusion: myPerspective series

By Nuala, Logistics Department

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, I hear chatter from colleagues concerning the joys of Irish soda bread and the marvels of Guinness stout. For me, personally, these remarks conjure up a temporary longing. I miss the familiarity and sentiments of home, even though I am long gone and have resided in the states for a longer time than I resided in my native, Ireland.

Memories and nostalgia grow stronger as March 17th approaches. My mother, a marvelous baker, baked the best soda bread in the world, I can attest to that. Alas, she passed right before the COVID shutdown and I was lucky enough to be able to make it back to Dublin for her funeral. I remember the constant rain and reverence for the dead during that painful visit. I remember supping upon delicious pints of Guinness as family and close friends gathered in Cusack’s pub to bid my mother farewell after her cremation in Glasnevin cemetery. Glasnevin cemetery is a beautiful and sacred place, the burial site for many of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising heroes and visited by over half a million people, yearly.

Remembering, St. Patrick’s Day, as a child and the joys of no school, as the whole country practically shut down to celebrate its’ national holiday. My father would take us to O’Connell Street in the city center to view the parade after mass. We wore sprigs of shamrock and watched in awe as visiting American bands marched to the beat of deafening drums. I remember the sky-high throws of the majorettes and worried about how cold they must be in their short skirts. At dinner time we ate the traditional bacon and cabbage (I never heard of corned beef and cabbage until I arrived in the states) and in the evening we watched coverage of parades from all over the world on the television news. I was so in awe that people with no Irish accent could claim to be Irish!

To me, St. Patrick’s Day means reminiscing about the past, a past that is never too far away. A past I am blessed and grateful for. It is a day for me to remember the excitement and awe I felt as a child as people everywhere celebrate being Irish – it is a day when we all are truly Irish – even if only for one day.

Wishing all my BioReference colleagues, “Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit!”