Yes, I claim Scotch-Irish as part of my heritage. Today, on St. Patrick's Day, we celebrate all things Irish, but you won't catch me drinking green beer.
I've always thought it was rather ironic that St. Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland because he was not Irish. He was Welsh and a mere 16 years old when he was captured by Irish raiders.
Taken to Ireland as a slave, he lived there for 6 years before he escaped and returned home. After he entered the Church, he returned, as an ordained bishop, to Ireland.
Although little is known about his work in the northern and western parts of Ireland, two authenticated letters from him survive. From those two letters come the only universally accepted facts about his life. Most scholars accept the latest reconstruction of old Irish annals that state Patrick died in 461 AD on March 17 which is why this day is celebrated in his honor.
I find the various incarnations of his name that show the progression of pronunciation and spelling very interesting. The Latin, Patricius. Primitive Irish, Qatrikias. Old Irish, Cothraige. Middle Irish, Pátraic. Irish, Pádraig. Old Welsh, Patric. Middle Welsh, Padric. Welsh, Padrig. Old English, Patric. By the 7th century, Patrick had become a revered patron saint of Ireland.
How fitting to talk about Irish authors today. For such a small country, Ireland has had a rather large influence on world literature. If you are into contemporary fiction, you can find a list of 10 Contemporary Irish Authors who are deemed important to read.
You can go back to the classics and look at a list of 40 Famous Irish Authors like Bram Stoker who created Dracula, the poet William Butler Yeats, and even Frank McCourt who wrote Angela's Ashes.
Truly, in western Europe, the Irish have one of the oldest vernacular literatures, after Greek and Latin. The arrival of Christianity in the fifth century is considered to have brought literacy to Ireland even though they had a simple writing system known as ogham that they used for inscriptions. There's a great Wiki on Irish literature if you'd like to read more.
Celebrate St. Paddy's Day by reading a book by an Irish author. I plan to.