Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day

Posted on March 14th, 2011 by

A blog post by Sr. Collections Manager, Jobi O’Kin Zink

St. Patrick’s day has always been my favorite holiday even though I don’t have an Irish bone in my body. I remember when I was in 7th grade my dad got us all matching Kelly green sweatshirts with an apostrophe transforming Okin, Russian for perch, into O’kin, English for I’m pretending to be Irish.  It was pretty convincing when the four of us cheered on the sidelines in our matching sweatshirts at our town parade. (Sadly, I couldn’t find a photo of us)

Then there was the Friday night dinner with Irish soda bread and corned beef from Dad’s favorite caterer, the Market Basket instead of the typical brisket and challah. It’s virtually the same thing, isn’t it?

Corn beef and cabbage vs. Brisket

Soda bread vs. Challah; If Grandma Sylvia were here this challah would have raisins, too.

Over the years I’ve eaten a lot of green bagels, as did St. Patrick himself!

Could it be true?! 2008.43.2

They are better when it’s with spinach rather than just plain green food coloring.g

and drank my fair share of green beer (Note: I now prefer to drink real Irish beer: Guinness, Harp or Smithwicks!) on St. Patrick’s Day.

Jobi on St. Patrick’s Day 1998, Dubliner, Washington DC

And while I am excited that St. Patrick’s Day is being embraced by the masses, I miss the chance to hang out in Irish bars, singing Irish tunes, celebrating Irish culture.

Hurling is kind of a cross between lacrosse and field hockey

It really didn’t surprise many that Eric (who is neither Irish nor Jewish, but plays the Gaelic sport hurling) and I decided to go Ireland and hike the Ring of Kerry on the west coast for our 5th anniversary.

Just a few photos to highlight the trip (let me know if you want to see the full scrapbook!)

Lake of Kilarney, low on water

For five days we hiked and tramped across beautiful and diverse terrain.

Kenmare Bay


More than once I was grateful to St. Patrick for driving the snakes out of Ireland. It certainly made scrambling over rocks a lot less nerve wracking.

This photo was taken by my sister when she went to Ireland in 2006 with her friend, Irish Liz

No snakes on this trail!

There were castle ruins

Ballycarberry Castle

And circular forts

Cahergeal Fort

There were sheep on the trail

And large rocks to rest against

Cool old cemeteries to explore

No Jewish names on these markers; also my favorite photo from the whole trip!

But little shelter to protect you from the passing storms.

My 2nd favorite photo of the trip

After a week of hiking, we flew to Dublin. It’s true! Dublin had a Jewish Mayor, Robert Briscoe who served twice: 1956-57 and 1961-62

Jewish heritage tourism is on the rise]

I attempted to go to services while in Ireland, but there were no synagogues in Kerry. In fact, most Jews outside of Dublin come to Dublin for the High Holidays

I insisted that we go to the Jewish museum

I think they had their entire collection on display  and were featuring photographs of old synagogues.

Naturally we took a tour of the Guinness factory

Its true: Guinness does taste better in Ireland

And as history geeks, we got a kick out of their campaign ad 

This year as I don my green and raise my pint (or two or three) maybe I’ll add a L’chaim to the chorus of Slainte.


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