“May love and laughter light your days and warm your hearth and home.”

I grew up with a “kiss me, I’m Irish” pin on my shirt every St. Patrick’s day. I still remember my mom giggling as she pinned it on and sent me off for the day. I remember complaining about it when I was young and yet here I am, all grown up and applying for Irish citizenship.

My Grandfather was born in Ireland, my daughter is currently studying in Dublin and I visit Ireland regularly to spend time with our extended family. It is a country which holds a special place in my heart as I have always felt so connected. The first time I went back, I was taking a ferry into Belfast from Scotland and I had a strange, overwhelming feeling like I was going home. I had never felt that before, oh how I loved that feeling!

Belfast Harbour – Image by Marboon from Pixabay

I am drawn to the country’s raw beauty and the people. I find the Irish to be so kind, happy and welcoming.

“We may have bad weather in Ireland, but the sun shines in the hearts of the people and that keeps us all warm.”

Marianne Williamson

My favourite places to visit are Doolin and the cliffs of Mohr in County Clare, and of course the original family farm where all the Fordes were born and my cousins still live. A special memory for me is sharing homemade banana loaf, baked in the old fashioned wood oven in my family’s kitchen – best loaf I’ve ever eaten.

I have always felt drawn to Irish music and when I played on a professional level, I helped an Irish band called Beoga organise their first Canada tour. They ended up staying with us in the house for three weeks, back in 2003, and we have remained friends. You may recognise the name of the band from a collaboration with Ed Sheran – yep, the musicians in the background are my friends!

I have played Irish and Celtic music for years on stage and for my family, it is the best way I can show my Irish roots. I recorded some songs for my Mom and they provide a link to our heritage and my family that is more than words can say.

So to you all I wish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day, however you may spend it. May the luck of the Irish go with you today and always.

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