I know I’m a few days late but Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I have the privilege of dating an Irishman who is somewhat…ok, VERY…proud of his Irish heritage and so I got to experience some Irish traditions in addition to engaging in some “American” traditions that relate to the holiday.
So, for those of you who don’t know (and I didn’t until Friday – I thought the story was about rats) – St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and his feast day is March 17. Not much is known about his life and it is said that he was responsible for driving the snakes out of Ireland.
However there is some evidence that he was born to a fairly wealthy family in Britain in 400’s. He died in 46 AD. At the age of 16 he was taken captive by Irish raiders (that’s right – he probably wasn’t IRISH) and taken to Ireland where he was held captive for 6 years. It was during this period that he became a devout Christian. He eventually trained and became a missionary, travelling back to Britain and then back to Ireland, where he incorporated some of the Irish pagan traditions into his mission. I got this information here.
So, one of the traditions that I partook in was actually having a homecooked Irish Boiled Dinner. I ate it at my boyfriend’s home and it was cooked by his mother (with his help, getting things where they needed to get it). It had to have been one of the best meals ever.
Then on St. Patrick’s Day itself, we went to two bars – nothing crazy. We had a dinner at Martha’s Exchange, which completely brought back memories of my Public Defender days. That was typical, but what ended up being SPECIAL was the second place we went to. It was a speakeasy named Codex:
Here’s what it looks like from the outside. Can’t even tell right? In fact, it looks like it would be just your normal, antique or specialty book store. The entrance is around the corner through a glass door that serves as the entrance to two other businesses. You walk up a narrow, carpeted ramp and on a table, with a beautiful lamp and tablecloth is a sign telling you how to get in. Immediately to your right, is a book case – a legit book case – if you follow the directions from the sign and pick the right book, you get let into the bar/lounge. We were let in by a woman dressed in a 1920’s style get up. The bartenders were all wearing black ties with the armbands.
The inside was AMAZING. There were legit, old editions of books everywhere (I was in heaven ok??). The lighting was a dark and mellow gold. There were pictures of EMily Dickinson and other Prohibition Era people on the wall – if you go into the bathrooms there were some racy ones too. TEE HEE. There were niches to spend time in and the furniture seemed appropriate to the theme. The history of that particular building is amazing too. The bar is itself within walking distance of the mills on the river and so, it’s not hard to imagine that a bar like this would fit in with the neighborhood in the prohibition era. Rumor has it that the building that this bar in once housed a bootlegging distillery in it during Prohibition itself. This place was just special. Absolutely special.