I (Heart) Ireland!

I love St. Patrick's Day. My Irish ancestry may be a few generations back, but I do get my red hair honestly.

And, yes, I am a redhead.

I realize the blue stripes often make the rest of my hair look brown, so I offer proof in the form of an old photo:

See? My hair is so red that the orange sunglasses sitting atop my head blend in! (Look closely.) Plus, I have death-white, burn-to-a-crisp-in-seconds skin. Can't get more Irish than that.

Extreme Hair Close-Up

Anyway, I can't resist a celebration. And because I am a nerd, and therefore enjoy Learning Stuff, here are some cool factoids:

Perhaps you've heard the tale of St. Patrick — the patron saint of Ireland — banishing the snakes from Ireland with only a wooden staff. But did you know snakes aren't native to the island? So the "snakes" he banished are a metaphor for pagan ideals.

St. Patrick is also most likely the creator of the Celtic cross. He placed the sun (a powerful symbol of the Irish pagans), onto the Christian cross so that the symbol would feel more natural to them.

Sneaky, sneaky man.

And did you know that leprechauns had nothing to do with St. Patrick's Day until 1959, when Walt Disney released Darby O'Gill & the Little People? And now that you know that, it probably won't surprise you that the cheerful leprechaun is purely an American — Disney — invention! Traditional leprechauns are cranky and use trickery to guard their treasure. They're also in charge of mending the other faeries' shoes. (While they're guarding treasure, I assume?)

Darby features a young Sean Connery. NOT Irish.

And now for some desk-chair travel . . .

Isn't it beautiful?

And, well, it wouldn't be me if I didn't follow that up with the beautiful men of Ireland.

Do you know how hard it was to find a non-creepy photo of Jonathan Rhys Meyers? I mean, granted, that's kind of his charm. (But honestly.) Here are my top three JRM films:

(1) Bend It Like Beckham — Sweet and young, plus excellent application of the accent.
(2) The Tudors — Okay, not a movie. But sexy, period-costumed goodness.
(3) Velvet Goldmine — Glittery and glam rock.

Also, anyone out there seen August Rush? Do we like? Should I watch?

His very Irish name is pronounced "Kill-ian," if you didn't know. And I've yet to see a film with Cillian Murphy that I didn't enjoy, so here are five of my favorites:

(1) Sunshine — Danny Boyle, Danny Boyle, Danny Boyle!
(2) Red Eye — Kinda embarrassed to rank this one so high, but I love it. So there.
(3) Girl with a Pearl Earring — Had a small but memorable role in this gorgeous film.
(4) 28 Days Later — Danny Boyle, Danny Boyle, Danny Boyle!
(5) The Wind That Shakes the Barley — Solidly Irish. Fantastic acting and cinematography.

Also, um, how fab is his belt?

I'm just saying.

What?? No, I'm not using my blog to post pictures of Cillian Murphy again. Though that last one is adorable. I didn't realize how rare it was to see him full-on smiling.

Ah hem.

So if you've never seen Once, today is the perfect day! Glen Hansard is a cutie Irishman who plays the guy — the characters are never named — who enlists the help of Markéta Irglová (born in Czech Republic, lives in Dublin) to record an album. That's pretty much it, but you'll be wowed by the quiet intelligence of the story and the phenomenal music. It's truly the best soundtrack in recent years. If not ever.*

Glen also fronts the Irish rock band, The Frames. If you aren't familiar with their work, may I suggest iTunes-ing "Pavement Tune"? You will like it. I promise.

(Unless you don't. Then I'm sorry about the $0.99.)

Glen and Markéta used to date, but I was sorry to hear they recently broke up. So sad! Because look how cute they were when they won their Academy Awards for "Falling Slowly":

Love them.

Glen and Markéta also win the prize for the most sincere Oscar speech of all time. (The video is disabled for embedding, but please click on the link! It's inspiring for ALL artists. Plus, you'll hear Glen's lovely accent.)

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah! The holiday! Well. I've gotten a bit off track, and I smell a cup of Irish breakfast tea waiting for me in the kitchen. So allow me to end with a quote from my very favorite Irishman:

"I can believe in anything, provided that it is quite incredible." — Oscar Wilde

Oscar's statue in Dublin.



*Speaking of Cillian Murphy (cough cough), he was originally cast for the lead in Once, but dropped the project because of a scheduling conflict. Glen Hansard — who'd already signed on to write the music — stepped in, but it took quite a bit of convincing from the director. Glen was concerned about playing someone who is, essentially, himself. Can you imagine how different the movie would have been with Cillian? As much as I admire him, I'm thankful it was Glen who did the job in the end.


  1. ...er...I wasn't looking at the belt ;)

    And young Sean Connery! *sigh*

  2. Ireland is near the top of my places I simply must go to someday.

    Also, my favorite part of this post is that the picture is titled "SeeIHaveRedHair." He he he...

    We're having corned beef and cabbage for dinner tonight. Any excuse for a celebration, right?

  3. OMG, I am super-jealous of your hair colour. I have ordinary brown, but at least it's naturally curly (and I have a lot of grey hairs already! AAAH!!) I do share that burn & peel corpse-skin trait though, NOT FUN. My sister saw my legs once and said they were a negative colour. EVIL!!! I got the Hungarian skin, not the lovely olive Puerto Rican skin... fail.

    I'm off to an irish pub in Oregon City tonight. I forgot to wear something green today, so now I have to go and buy a pin or something lest be pinched to an inch of my life by my evil friends.


  4. I always wished I was red-headed. But I'm like one of those paintings were the colors get all muddled together. Is she blonde? Brunette? But there's a little red in there too! I once had two old ladies break out into a fight over my natural hair color. I finally just decided to make myself auburn.

    And, um, I want to live in that purple house...with Cillian Murphy.

  5. Haha. I don't have red hair.. but my dad does! And I am not Irish, but on St. Patrick's day i am. I've decided.

    Also-- NONONONONO DO NOT SEE AUGUST RUSH!!! I wasted a train ride in Italy watching that movie, and when it was over my iPod died! It is also the MOST FAR-FETCHED plot ever, sappy, and UNREALISTIC. Also, it has Robin Williams in it as the Bad Guy who Wears a Cowboy Hat, which made me giggle uncontrollably every time he was in a scene.

  6. Beth -- Okay, I'm thinking I should probably be embarrassed. Because I TOTALLY WAS LOOKING AT THE BELT!

    Kiersten -- Wait. I thought you didn't like "C" abbage things? (Or is that Hot Stuff?)

    Hungarican -- Ack! I've been called "negative colour" too! And don't you hate buying makeup? Often, the ones that say something like "01 Fair" aren't even light enough. (I need one marked, "00 Ghost.")

    Natalie -- If you move into the purple house with Cillian, then I am moving into the reddish orange house and borrowing many cups of sugar.

    Lexi -- HAHAHAHA! Snort snort. "Bad Guy who Wears a Cowboy Hat" totally made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the tip! I'll steer clear.

  7. No, that's me. But I'm a very generous spouse, and it makes Hot Stuff happy.

  8. Yeah, I wasn't so into AUGUST RUSH, either. For me, Robin Williams was over the top. JRM wasn't in enough to make up for the rest.

    Also, thanks for the link to the Oscar speech. I loved ONCE and really like those two. Sad if they're not together anymore. :-(

  9. Jonathan Rhys Meyers IS super creepy, which is perfect for some roles, but didn't quite work for me in Beckham. He never looked like a guy who would actually wear trainers, you know? He should be in pointy-toed things that can impale people, or boots with knives tucked down inside.

    I love Cillian Murphy. I got to meet him at Comicon, very briefly, when he was signing in the DC booth for Batman. If you haven't seen The Way We Lived Then, a BBC miniseries, you MUST. He is totally adorable in it, and new-Darcy Matthew MacFadyen plays a very un-Darcy cad.

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

  10. Kiersten -- You're too nice. I'd be like, "Cook your own freaking cabbage!!!" (Jarrod is the thoughtful one.)

    Min -- You're welcome! I love how they brought her out again, so she could give her speech. And I know. I'm totally bummed too :(

    Laini -- No no no! I mean, yes, I know what you're saying about JRM, but his role in Beckham still really worked for me. There's this one scene, where the main girl is getting ready to go out on the town, and she comes downstairs and he sees her all fancy for the first time -- and his double-take is PERFECT. PERFECT!! (Incidentally, cough cough, it was the inspiration for a similar quick moment in First Novel.) Also, I can't believe you met Cillian. Except you've done EVERYTHING, so I can. I guess I'm just surprised you didn't meet him in a hot air balloon over Cairo.

    LAINI: [Wind whipping pink hair around.] Oh, hello! I don't believe we've met.

    CILLIAN: I am a Very Famous Actor. Would you like to kiss me while we sail over the pyramids?

    JIM: Ah hem.

    CILLIAN: I'm sorry. Do I know you?

  11. August Rush is a great movie. If you don't like music, though, you won't appreciate it. It's also pretty family-ish, as in parts are kinda kiddish. Overall opinion: it is a well-done movie that is actually pretty great. I give it three stars. ***

  12. Dang. I wish I was Laini. But maybe not with Cillian Murphy...he's kind of creepy, too. In a beautiful, intense way, but still kind of creepy...

    I thought August Rush was weird. I kept expecting it to be good, but mostly it just stayed weird.

  13. (Also, the cabbage is seriously low-maintenance. Chop, toss into the crock pot. And Hot Stuff was so cute--he's like a little boy at Christmas. He's been talking about this dinner ALL WEEK. And frequently apologizing that I have to make it, and offering to forgo the cabbage. How could I resist?)

  14. I LOVE that red hair. I have a daughter with just that shade and the same translucent skin. It's all that Irish blood.

    I want to go to Ireland so bad. Some day.

  15. Did I ever tell you that I spent 6 weeks in Ireland for field school? I dig Ireland and the Irish. In fact, I like the Irish so much I married an O'Brien :o)

    There was a little girl that came into the tea shop the other day that had red hair the same shade as yours. She was soooo cute! And super polite. She actually made sure to thank me for helping her pick out a yummy tea! So adorable and made me think of you!

  16. Steph, you can borrow as many cups of sugar as you like. As long as you bring all your boyfriends with you. Actually, just send them over for you...one at a time. Promise I'll give em back. Eventually.

  17. jckandy -- Uh oh! The first positive review! I might have to see it after all (because I DO love music).

    Kiersten -- Oh, I know. He IS creepy (it's the eyes). But in his case, I'm totally okay with it. Hope last night's feast was yummy!

    Lotus -- Meeeee too. Someday maybe we'll meet in Dublin over coffee :)

    Jamey -- Yes!! I remember! You are so fortunate to have had that experience. Also, I was totally jealous when I found out the last name you were getting. It's awesome. I mean, a lot Irish have mine too . . . but so does everyone else. You're working in a tea shop???? How did I not know this??? Could I die???

    Natalie -- HA! No way, Jose. But I'll bring 'em along when we come visiting ;)

  18. Being a mailman in Ireland must be interesting because the street numbers above those doors go from 5 straight to 97. So the guy four houses down is like 845174 S. High Street or whatever.

    Also, that Celtic cross has a roof on it. I guess St. Patrick also wanted Jesus/the sun (the Son? eh?!?) to stay dry.

  19. Speaking of red hair, there is an extremely high chance I am incubating a red head! Jim's hair was crazy curly bright red when he was a kid, though it's now kind of strawberry, and his niece looks like Annie. There's never been red hair or curls in my family, so it will be interesting. Beautiful, though. I love red hair! Between the two of us, we have about every single caucasian possibility of eye and hair color, so it's anybody's guess.

    And, love the Cillian hot air balloon dialogue above :-)

  20. And Jarrod, funny noticer-of-things-in-pictures. You're so right about those addresses! I suppose the '9' must have come off the '95', but I prefer to think of addresses like 14958668993959585889 Blarney St!

  21. Jarrod -- Sun/Son! Snortle snortle snortle. And that is why I love you the most-est. Also, I just booked a room on that street for the summer. Hope we can find it. Maybe you can busk with Glen so I can have some extra spending $$$?

    Laini -- I just consulted my genetics chart, and Baby Magpie will have sea green crimped hair and violet eyes.

  22. but you still like scotland better, right? or just scots.

    also, i miss jarrod. he's funny. but i don't miss him like i miss you, me heart.

  23. Yup, I quit my archaeology job early November of last year to focus more on my masters program and volunteering at the museum. So, now I manage a tea shop in old-town Scottsdale. All the free tea I can drink! I'll have to mail you some sometime :o)

  24. James -- Um. Of course I do, darling.

    Jamey -- That's AWESOME! And in old-town Scottsdale, how cool! I'd LOVE to visit your shop next month.

  25. Hey I wish I had red hair like yours! Looks fab! My partner has red hair, I can't understand all this nonsense about red-haired people, as if it's something to be ashamed of or something... very bizarre...

    Oh and the Cillian pics! thank you very much!! Yes LOVE that last one of him smiling, he's gorgeous anyway but 10x more beautiful with that smile! Mmm imagine waking up to that every morning!! Hee hee!
    Best wishes

  26. I'm 24 and never been abroad. So sad. I HAVE to go to US and Ireland someday. Soon, hopefully. I WILL go there. I know I will. *sorry for this whining, Steph*

  27. I am Irish. You know the kind that was born there and grew up there 'n' stuff. I am so Irish I have to dye my hair red because I ran out of pigment in it in my 20s. My daughter however is the real deal. Also my skin is so white it appears blue in most natural light.

    I'm from Limerick. I went to the same school as Richard Harris (although - like - about a million years later when they left girls in) who played Dumbledore. At dinner parties I like to tell people I was educated at Hogwarts which, though technically untrue, I can prove using simple maths and several bottle of wine.

    I live in England now and I'm married to a HBM.

    Livin' the dream!

  28. Janey — HA! Oh, I love your comment so much. Livin' the dream, indeed. :D Also, that is SERIOUSLY AWESOME you can tell people you were educated at Hogwarts! I'd whip that out at dinner parties, too.

  29. i know you did this post a while ago, but i just have to say that Cillian murphy... hes like the most beautiful thing on eart! :O I LOOOVE him! :D Thanks for putting out pictures of him! ;)