Saturday, 3 March 2012

Storytelling Sunday - March

In honour of Storytelling Sunday with Sian, and St Patrick's Day, I thought I would share with you a collection of short stories and pictures from the years we spent in Ireland.  Our first year in Ireland was spent in Dublin and we didn't go watch the parade in the city.  But after moving to a small town in the heart of Ireland we really embraced the holiday.  I don't have digital photos of our first parade and the hard copies are still packed.  But that year the kids participated by dressing up in that years theme 'Fairy Tales'.  The Princess was a Princess (surprise, surprise!), The Extrovert was Prince Charming complete with crown and sword.  The Thinker went as the Pied Piper and I stitched soft sculpture mice and rats all over his jacket and hat. He was very excited as he won a prize!

By 2005 both boys were Beavers in the local scout group.  As a group they dressed up as snakes in honour of the myth of St Patrick driving all the snakes from Ireland.  If you look closely in the photo the snake on the right peering out from under his mask is The Extrovert and the orange snake behind him is The Thinker.

The Princess at the parade
The Princess thought is was wonderful watching her brothers march in the parade from the sidelines.  Most of the floats are pulled by tractors and they featured local businesses and groups.  One time there was a 'shotgun wedding'!!!  It was very funny.

She even got all dressed up for the occasion.

The Thinker & The Extrovert

The Extrovert
By the following year I had started to get more involved in the community and was in the process of opening my first craft shop (we actually opened about a week later).  With the help of another parent, who used to make costumes for a living, we organised for our kid's school to march in the parade.  The theme of the year was circus or carnival and she produced some great costumes.  Most of the kids in the school participated and we were a colourful sight to behold!!!  The Extrovert was in Cubs (next level up in Scouts) by then and he chose to march with them as he had already made is costume.  He painted all the colours and made the neck ruffle while at cubs.

Until looking for these photos I had forgotten all about sewing a white clown costume for him to decorate.  There weren't any fabric stores where we lived and so the fabric of choice was usually stolen from sheets :-)  His was made from an old white flannel sheet.  He even wrote on the back "Happy St Patrick's Day"!
However this St Patrick's Day was not like any other we had spent in Ireland.  It was FREEZING!!!  I don't think it even got to 5C and the wind was fierce and bitterly cold!  We rugged every child up in as many layers as would fit under their costume.  The Princess wore three layers of clothing, plus her scarf and gloves, and in the end she even put her woollen beanie on under the flowers.  Isn't she a colourful flower girl?
The Thinker was one of the multi-coloured clowns.  Even I had to look twice to see if it was him under all that colour!
And finally here I am!  I had to lead the parade and there was NO room for extra layers under my costume.  I have never been so cold in all my life!!!

Don't they all look cold?  The march paused in front of some friends and one of them leant The Extrovert a pair of gloves as he was chattering and his fingers were red.  He was only half way through town by then!

And then came our school group.  That is me at the front and we go all the way back to the tall yellow giraffes.  I feel cold just looking at these pictures!  But on a side note, if you look down the street on the right ... just after the street light you will see a red shop front, then a dark green shop front and then the first bit of black you see was my shop front.

It took more than an hour for me to stop shivering that day!  It was just one of those freaky weather days.
The Thinker

We were all excited about being in the parade again the following year but small town politics and soaring insurance premiums got in the way and our parade was cancelled.  Along with many other small town parades.  We didn't get to march in another parade until 2009 and that wasn't in our home town but in the closest 'large' town.  Here are a few photos of us at the marshalling area.  In contrast to our previous parade it was such a warm day we were afraid some of the smaller kids weren't going to make it to the end without fainting.  Here we all were in our warm uniforms and the sun was gloriously warm!

The Princess
By then The Princess was in Beavers and I was a Beaver leader.  The Thinker was a Cub and The Extrovert was a Scout.  If I had known then that this was to have been our last St Patrick's Day in Ireland I would have had someone take photos of us marching.  Unfortunately we didn't have anyone in the crowd to take photos that year and I didn't get a photo of The Extrovert as he kept playing up in front on the camera.

Our little town does now have their parade back and it is great to see community spirit alive and well today.  I just wish I was there to see it.  We now don't live somewhere that celebrates St Patrick's day, but we are having a 'St Patrick's Day 12hr Craft-a-thon' in the store.  So we will still get a little bit of a celebration.

Not a traditional story this month but I hope you liked it anyway.  So where ever you may be, enjoy your St Patrick's Day.  If you are ever in Ireland for St Patrick's Day you must go out into a smaller town and experience a local parade.  There is always music and a Guinness or two afterwards.

If you like to read a story or tell one yourself, head on over to Sian at From High In The Sky and join in the fun.  There were lots of stories to read last month and I am looking forward to reading all of the new ones this month.

Happy March Everyone,


  1. Lovely memories Chipper....I have never visited Ireland, or indeed anywhere that held St Patrick's day parades.
    Alison xx

  2. My origins are Irish, this year my sister is getting Married on St Patrick's Day!

  3. Those are some wonderful memories and stories!

  4. A great story and worth telling.

  5. Lovely memories and great to have the photos to go with them.

  6. Thank you for sharing, I have Irish ancestry and one day we will go there for a holiday.

  7. Lovely stories from Dublin, from another with Irish in her.

  8. I love this! I am a big fan of making costumes and dressing up and I can also relate to that weather - I know exactly how cold it is in Ireland on ST Patrick's Day!

    Thank you for coming up with a perfect March story for Storytelling Sunday

  9. Wow what a lovely collection of colourful costumes :) It is lovely to see all these photo's of ST Patrick's Day parades x

  10. Wow, there's a whole series of scrapbook pages here. I feel so bad for you about that super-cold parade and then I noticed the pumps you were wearing...could it be that the cold kept you from thinking how much your feet hurt?

  11. Great collection of photographs and I love how you have weaved them in and out of your story. Have a great St Patrick's Day in your store.

  12. ooh fun costumes. i never did parades like that other than being dressed as a brownie or guide for church parade. we did dress up at grandma's house though
    jo xxx

  13. What fab costumes! We have a parade for May Day, I was never in it as a child, but a lot of our Brownies were in it last year and it was great fun trying to spot them all as they came past :)

  14. I love Ireland and have had a few great holidays there. I have never been involved with St Patricks Day celebrations though they look like great fun...I would love to join in your craft a thon hope it goes well.

  15. I enjoyed your photos - great costumes

  16. Great stories and pictures. I love all the costumes! Especially the snake masks! It's great you have such nice memories of the celebrations :-)

  17. Cool costumes. i too have memories of Ireland and Halloween and crazy costumes in Londonderry. Thanks for sharing your story.
    Cheers from France

  18. A really great story and so many memories

  19. Great stories and vivid pictures to match. Don't you just love Storytelling Sunday.

  20. That looks like so much fun well except for the really cold day. So neat to read stories from around the world.

  21. What lovely memories :) I'd love to visit Ireland!
    Thanks for sharing!

  22. I so enjoyed reading your St. Patrick's Day memories! Sounds like so much fun each year.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog & checking out this month's Storytelling Sunday!


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