It is my unique pleasure to be the blogger du jour (or should I say blogger an lá?) for this St. Patrick’s Day!  Ironically enough, I am Irish American on both sides, so Ireland holds a special place in my heart, even though I’ve yet to set foot on Irish sod. 

My extended family is fairly stereotypical – lots of drinkers, tempers, and offspring.  (I have 38 first cousins that I know about.  No kidding.  My own parents were smart and only had two children.)  One of my earliest childhood memories involves my Great-grandpa Magee who never really learned English well and was hard-of-hearing to boot.  Therefore, he would start shouting in Irish Gaelic when he couldn’t find the words he wanted.  I was terrified of him.

For my St. Patrick’s Day post, I’d like to offer up some Irish things I think are pretty cool:

Going Green
We know to wear green and drink green beer on St. Paddy’s Day, but going green doesn’t have to end after March 17.  Yes, I’m talking about environmental awareness.  You have probably heard that the City of Pittsburgh is running a “Going Green” campaign at the moment that includes a plan to help reduce the city’s carbon footprint.  WPXI has more information and a bunch of links to other environmentally-minded local websites:  http://www.wpxi.com/goinggreenpittsburgh/index.html.

Another great way to go green is to participate in “The Great American Cleanup of PA” from March 1 to May 31, 2009.  During this event, anyone can register to conduct a trash and litter cleanup of any type – parks, roads, streams, illegal dumpsites – and get help in organizing and promoting the cleanup.  PennDOT will provide gloves, safety vests, and trash bags for registered groups and the PA Waste Industries Association will provide landfill space (between April 25 and May 9).  If you don’t want to organize a cleanup, you can volunteer for an existing cleanup in your area.  This event is co-managed by Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and PA CleanWays (the organization on which I cut my nonprofit teeth, which is why I know all this stuff).  Find out more and sign up at:  http://www.gacofpa.org/index.asp.

Bono
Paul “Bono” Hewson, the frontman for the supergroup U2, has used his fame for good and has become an amazing humanitarian in the last several decades.  He’s also as Irish as they come.  Read more about him and his good works here:  http://www.atu2.com/band/bono/.

The Irish and Celtic Music Podcast
Marc Gunn may be one of the most talented social networkers I know.  He has a gift for making connections through multimedia and creating some serious synergy in the process.  Nonprofits could learn a lot from studying his social networking techniques and strategies.  One of his projects is the Irish and Celtic Music Podcast, which is a regular podcast that features only independent Irish and Celtic musicians and bands.  It’s quite excellent and a great listen on St. Patrick’s Day and any other day of the year.  http://www.celticmusicpodcast.com/

Local Irish-Interest Nonprofits
There are quite a few of these, whether you realize it or not:

Have a great St. Patrick’s Day, be safe while tipping those green beers, and try not to set any couches on fire in the process.  Sláinte!

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