My full name is Sean Patrick O’Donnell. As far as I’m concerned, that’s probably one of the most traditional Irish names given to an American citizen. My family came to America around the same time most Irish immigrants did, during the Great Famine that took place in the mid-1800s. According to the family legend, my great-great grandpa was given the family’s last cow to take in to town to sell for food for the winter. Instead, he sold it for a ticket to the US of A and waved goodbye to the Emerald Isle.
Excusing the fact that he basically ditched his family to starve, he’s my direct link to a heritage that runs so deeply in my blood. I’m not over-the-top enthusiastic about it, but it is a heritage that I find myself invested in, especially during large family events. It’s a part of my identity, a part of my family’s past, and of my children’s future. I’m reminded of it everytime someone sees my full name and comments on it being “such a nice Irish name”. Trust me, having an apostrophe in your name causes much unneeded confusion, but I love the weight that it carries.
Though there is a growing hip-hop scene in Ireland itself, something I’ve written about before, there isn’t much of an Irish influence in American hip-hop. Punk seems to be the way of most new-age Irish musicians, so much so that it’s been deemed its own subgenre, celtic punk. Yet there are a few examples of Irish pride taking on the rap scene, and one that I return to every year is Macklemore‘s “Irish Celebration“.
Though I don’t particularly like Macklemore, this is one track that I can always find myself in. It’s a toast to the blue-collared Irish workers who have helped build this country, the belligerent, rabble rousers gone off Guinness and Jameson. It’s a call to those whose beard shines orange in the sun, much like mine does; a call for brotherhood, unity, and family, a perfect trifecta of true Irish concepts. It’s a middle finger to those that disrespect your heritage and family, a half-drunken, wholly-serious threat to those who wish you discontent. All in all, it’s the perfect anthem for your St. Patrick’s Day antics, whether you be Irish or not.
And that’s the beauty of the song, and the holiday in general: we can all find a bit of ourselves in Irish culture. It’s one that celebrates God’s blessings, brotherly love, and family ties, something we could all use a little more of and something we could certainly spread throughout our country at a time like this. This song aims to bring together not just people or Irish blood, but all people, because who doesn’t want to be part of a large Irish toast? Thanks to Macklemore for giving me the opportunity to celebrate my heritage in this song, one I highly suggest you add it to your rotation for the day. Tonight, raise a toast to the green, white, and orange; we’re all Irish today. Happy St. Patrick’s Day from BLUNTIQ!