I know, I know, it is a day late for a St. Patrick's Day piece.
St. Patrick's Day was yesterday, after all.
But, for anyone whose blood runs green with Irish roots, was St. Patty's Day really just yesterday? Or, was it everyday before it, as well as today and every day to come in the future?
You see, St. Patrick's Day is not just about getting drunk on Guinness (but it doesn't hurt!). It is about the sense of pride that people with Irish roots display on that day.
But, for some people, that pride is always there, and it is always on display.
There is a lot to be proud about when you're Irish. It is the cold pitcher of finely-brewed Guinness; the green-white and-orange flag; the golden Irish harp; the shamrock and the four-leaf clover; kissing the Blarney Stone upside down, in the arms of another man (while holding onto a pair of black, wrought-iron bars); the legend of Michael Collins, and the tale of the 1916 Easter Rising.
In essence, everyday is St. Patrick's Day.
And, as I sit at my computer on St. Patrick's Day, and reflect on the "wearin' o' the green," I can't help thinking about Ireland itself.
I mean nothing says Irish more than the rolling green hills of Ireland's countryside.
Add in some Celtic, cross-shaped tombstones, ruins that date back to the Neolithic Age, the Cliffs of Moher, the friendly people, and the street signs written in Gaelic and English, and you have the ultimate example of why it's great to be Irish.
There are many great things to see in "Dublin's Fair City," such as the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Castle and the Four Quarters, Grafton Street and Trinity College, but the real essence of Ireland (or it's true soul, if you prefer that terminology) lies in the rural areas.
And, there are lots of rural areas in Ireland. It's a land that has, blessedly, not been overtaken with over-development.
In fact, it is the land itself that Ireland can truly claim as it's biggest tourist attraction.
Score one for Mother Nature.
Sorry Montana and Texas, but Ireland is truly "God's Country." Nothing else can compare to the gentle, rolling, green hills and mountains of central Ireland, or the breathtaking vistas of the Burren, in the western part of the island, where the dominant features are plunging valleys, billowing clouds, and hillsides that are rocky and grassy at the same time.
And, there is western Ireland's biggest gem -- the Cliffs of Moher.
To stand on the edge of one of the cliffs, with the hard-blowing wind throwing your hair up in a tizzy, while you gaze out upon the north Atlantic Ocean, is truly breathtaking.
This nature-made wonder easily matches (and kinda outdoes) the views offered by man-made sites, such as the roof of the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris (at sunset), or the London Eye, in London, or the crown of the Statue of Liberty, in New York City.
And, that is why Ireland is "God's Country."
That is why, for me, everyday is St. Patrick's Day.
Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.