Friday, March 05, 2010

I'm Liam this month

Liam is the Irish Gaelic version of William.
Parades, music, wearing green, and raising a few pints can be expected soon.

I had a very special St. Patrick's Day back in 1989. It was a Friday that year and by a strange coincidence I finalized a deal with my employer to join a new group they recently had acquired in Shannon Ireland.  I was involved in taking engineering projects over to their development group.

For those familiar with Ireland (I was not then), Shannon is a river and an airport. It has an office park near the airport.

The great deal I  hammered out with the company included a bonus, transportation of my family (all 7 of us), a car lease in Ireland, and lodging for 3 months. I felt like a won a lottery.

saint patrick

This cartoon reminds me of our travels with the kids packed in the back.  I learned driving on the wrong side of the road OK.  One weekend our entertainment was my wife's practicing that left side thing along with a stick shift.  Luckily she had some stick shift experience.  There were many empty country roads that were fun that weekend.  Often the biggest traffic problem was sheep or cows on the road.

We visited many B&B's. 

Wife and I enjoyed listening to the Irish Drum (bodhran) at the pubs.  Here's a clip of one:

I discovered recently the band Tossers (Irish Punk).

Well guess what ? The Tossers are Southside Chicago Irish (for chi town people - it's just "southside Irish"). If you don't know, being called a tossers is not a good thing. I think it might be like a wanker, but I'm not completely sure.

Here's a bit on the word from the bio on their record company page:
"... In the early 1920's, the Irish instituted their own currency after the southern free state won independence from Britain. British coins became worthless throwaways - "tossers."
I was puzzled by the title of their song, so after a quick internet search I figured it out. Siobhan is another Irish form of Joan meaning "God is gracious." A popular name in Ireland where the anglicized versions are often used.
Did you know Ireland's schools are required to teach Gaelic.  I'm not sure how many years of it the students get.  There are still towns were it is spoken on the street in regular daily conversation.


OneStonedCrow said...

Hehe ... yes, that cartoon of St Pat also reminds me of childhood family vacations ... and for us in southern Africa too, driving on the Left side of the road is the Right side - if that makes sense?

oceangirl415 said...

Hey OSC, you drive on the right left side too. I guess we are English.

This sounds like a great trip Liam, I mean Bill, I mean lisleman. Any photos of the trip?

dave hambidge said...

We have visited Eire on a few occasions, would have gone more but for the troubles. Good anecdotes Liam!

lisleman said...

I think the right side out numbers the left side drivers. But I just noticed the cartoon shows the driver seat on the WRONG side of the car. Maybe I should put a quiz question in the post, "What's wrong with this picture".

lisleman said...

I've never gone to Northern Ireland but it seems safer than a few Chicago neighborhoods.

dave hambidge said...

I've never done NI; Yanks are very welcome, not brits!

lisleman said...

given the history I can understand that but holding grudges is not a good thing. What did you have to do with Cromwell?

dave hambidge said...

I served for many years with an indirect descendent of Cromwell's oppressive roundheads, the Royal Air Force. We were banned from visiting NI for security reasons certainly until the late 1990's, I've not enquired since!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Kudos to you and your wife! If I had to drive a stick shift on the wrong side of the road I'm pretty sure the fenders would have been dented and whiplash would have been involved.

Have a great weekend Liam ;-)

lisleman said...

thanks JJ - I hope readers don't think my name is Liam - it's just for St. Paddy's day.

secretagentwoman said...

What a lucky experience. I have not yet made it to Ireland, but I remember my father driving a load of us kids around England. I want to see Ireland partly because I am told this part of the country resembles it (richly green rolling hills).

lisleman said...

The emerald isle - there's good reason it has that name. I spent most of my time in county Clare. Oh maybe you know this but you need to think in counties. County Galway has the Connemara which is just heaven on earth. I believe every shade of green can be seen in Ireland. Oh and if you are there during a rain, you typically get a beautiful rainbow (and a pot of gold).
England is great too. Did you visit many castles?

TechnoBabe said...

Thanks for sharing the family adventure in Ireland. It makes it more interesting to hear the personal parts of the adventure, like learning to drive on the left side of the road. I would love to drive there.

lisleman said...

it was fun driving there but I do enjoy driving in just about anything other than city traffic.
Note to self - post about driving in Ireland maybe other places.
You do need to rethink things when you switch to the other side.
thanks for the suggestion

robert_g said...

thank you for the wonderful memories I have with St. Patrick's Day...even though nearly two decades ago. Wearing a celtic tribal's ink however makes remembering it easier. Great choice as well of the music.
Please have a wonderful start into the new week.
Daily Athens at:

lisleman said...

thanks robert, you have a nice blog covering Athens.

unknownmami said...

Sounds like quite the adventure.

lisleman said...

it really was. We traveled almost every weekend and of course every little village was new to us. I plan on writing some more about it.

lillyslife said...

I love Irish music and bands - heard of the Pogues?

lillyslife said...

Love Ireland, Irish bands especially the Pogues.

lisleman said...

I've heard of the Pogues but I don't have any of their performances. Is St. Paddy's day big in OZ?

lillyslife said...

Oh yes, its big here too. We have lots of Irish that came here as well.
Lovely people hey?

Mac4money said...

good one Liam

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