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March is for the luck of the Irish by Krystyl Farmer

          Since 1991, March has been recognized as National Irish American Heritage Month. Since then, Congress and elected Presidents have proclaimed March to be an observance of contributions to history and society made by those with Irish heritage. If you want to experience some Irish culture of your own, or perhaps tap into your Irish roots, your local public libraries are a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Books about Irish history, culture, and customs are aplenty at the libraries.

          Take for instance The Irish Heritage Cookbook by Biddy White Lennon & Georgina Campbell. This cookbook features over 150 recipes and explains traditions and ingredients.  Real Irish Food: 150 Classic Recipes from the Old Country by David Bowers elightens readers on how to stock a kitchen the Irish way in America. This book sets out to rectify the notion that Americans think “traditional Irish food” is corned beef and cabbage.

          If Ireland’s food isn’t exciting enough for you, a book about paranormal stories from the Emerald Isle might be a scream. True Irish Ghost Stories by St. John D. Seymour shares ghost tales provided to the author through a newspaper advertisement distributed in Ireland, 1914. The Irish Spirit: Proverbs, Superstitions, and Fairy Tales by Laurence Flanagan is an amalgamation of the Emerald Isle’s most well-loved Fairy Tales, proverbs in English and Gaelic, and local traditions based on superstition. Books about the faeries in Ireland are abundant at the libraries!

          If you prefer more realism and less supernatural, then history and language are a good way to go! Irish Language and Culture by Martin hughes is a travel book chock-full of practical phrases and cultural references that will help anyone pick up some Irish. How the Irish saved civilization: The untold story of Ireland’s heroic role from the fall of Rome to the rise of medieval Europe by Thomas Cahill chronicles the transition of Europe’s classical age to the Medieval era and how it would not have been possible without the influence of the Irish.

          If you desire a more fanciful tale, you can find a fiction novel with Irish roots also. Nora Roberts’ Irish Hearts and Irish Dreams are romantic stories about people with Irish history. Even though these are some of her earliest novels, her storytelling finesse shines through just the same.

          If you fancy something unromantic but charming all the same, take a shot at poetry and music from the Emerald Isle. Irish Poems by Matthew McGuire is a compendium of poems that stretch back fourteen centuries! If music speaks to your soul, try Irish Favorites which provides scores for some of the most-loved songs in Ireland. Sentimental ballads and happy sing alongs can both be found here in this piano, vocal, and guitar songbook.

          No matter what your heritage is, or your literary preference, there is something available at the library that will allow you to celebrate National Irish American Heritage month. To check the availability of any of these mentioned titles, please call your local branch of the Heartland Library Cooperative.