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A Happy St Patrick’s Day to you all #rwpchat #redread

March 17, 2016

A Happy St Patrick’s Day to you all!  Just for a challenge, this month’s theme is #redread.  Green would have been too easy! But we shall revel in the red, with art, poetry, nature, music and even a drive.  First we need to learn to say the Irish word (well, two words) for red – dearg and rua.  And in case you are travelling, as we will be, this online dictionary gives you sound files with a choice of Connacht, Munster or Ulster pronunciation.

So let’s paint the town red.  Starting with Galway where a big red ball (#RedBallProject) was a feature of their International Arts Festival in 2014 as you can see in this lovely little clip

And to Dublin.  Here is a journey through the city in the wonderful words of Mr Wilde (note the poetic licence of the red scarf and red hat)

Next to the village of Crosshaven in Cork which has hosted the three day Redhead Convention – a “celebration of all things to do with having fabulous red hair” since 2010.  This year’s will be held 19 – 21 August – “red-gister now” as they say.  An estimated 10% of the Irish population have red hair which Wikipedia somewhat unromantically points out “appears most commonly in people with two copies of a recessive allele on chromosome 16 which produces an altered version of the MC1R protein.”  Read red hair is rare and as this article and photographs from Clodagh Kilcoyne / Getty Images shows it is pretty extraordinary to see quite so many redheads together.

I have an old passport which describes my hair as auburn, so it’s official, these are my people!

And now to wild Ireland and red in nature.  This beautifully shot snippet from RTE’s documentary Secret Life of the Shannon shows native red squirrels doing their gymnastics to a great soundtrack. Watch for that final amazing leap.

The Irish countryside, the innocence of childhood and the abundance and impermanence of nature are all captured in Seamus Heaney’s poem Blackberry Picking

And still on the subject of the Irish landscape here is that drive I promised.  In a red Porsche, no less.  Get behind the wheel and enjoy some of the Wild Atlantic Way which runs 2500 km along the west coast from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in Cork.  “Bouncing around the edge of Ireland” as one of the drivers puts it


The Irish coast features too in this engaging short film with a serious message from Aerial Filming Ireland.  It is called The Right Shoes and is number four in a series of short films in their Red Bucket series.  All featuring, yes, a red bucket.

The Right Shoes from Steven Flynn on Vimeo.

And we come to the end of our journey. Listen to Heartstring Quartet play two traditional pieces, Sir Patrick Bellew’s March and An Cailin Rua Gaelach – The Red-Haired Irish Girl.

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Kathleen Alexander

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