Photo Courtesy of Syracuse Irish Festival
I had a tremendous time with Celtic Attitudes this last weekend at the Syracuse Irish Festival. Our stand was right at the foot of the old canal, a fitting spot for Irish themed clothing. It was, after all, the Irish laborers working for fifty cents a day from sun up to sundown, who built the Erie Canal in the early 1820’s. The bonus they were given, instead of money, was jiggers of whiskey on the half hour. The elites understood how to keep the Irish working and the importance of making them happy. They lived and died on that canal, with conditions so bad that they could not make proper arrangements to accommodate all the men who died.
That perseverance and strength can still be seen in the relatives of the Irish who stayed, many living on Tipperary Hill . A warm and humorous swagger that made us smile and reflect upon the culture that refuses to put down the pipes and pints for more homogenized activities. And when pipes and drums don’t get you heard, then rocks will do just fine. You see, when they first put street lights on the hill the “British“ red was on the top and the “Irish” green was on the bottom. This affront to the proper order of things had consequences, which involved selective and accurate forms of retribution. Every time they put up the lights in this order, the night would produce justice. Eventually, the city and state saw the futility in the color scheme and all the work involved. The outcome produced the only lights in America that has the GREEN lights on top and the red on the bottom.
So raise your glasses to one hell of a town that was built on strong Irish backs and throwing arms!