Sign me up for Irish Dancing lessons because after watching the documentary, Jig, I am pretty sure that kicking up one’s heels must be the funnest thing EVER.

Jig, a film by Sue Bourne, follows several dancers and dancing teams from all over the world as they prepare for and compete in the 2010 Irish Dancing World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. Every one of the featured competitors’ stories is fascinating, but I was especially charmed by the young girl from Ireland who lovingly displayed the dress that her grandmother bought her to compete in right before she passed away. I knew she was my favorite when the camera zoomed in on the calendar in her bedroom and you could see where she had written in the birthday of Disney channel star, Emily Osment, write next to her goal to win the world championships. She may be a highly focused performer, but she apparently still finds time to watch Hannah Montana!

What I liked most about this film was how HAPPY I felt while watching it. Yes, there are emotional moments such as when a young dancer clutches his stuffed animal and discusses being bullied or when members of the underdog Russian women’s team are refused visas into Scotland. But overall, Jig absolutely sparkles with passion and joy and left me feeling that skipping may just be the best way to travel.

Many years ago, one summer evening I was switching channels, trying to find something other than reruns. On IPTV, I came across a charming show about a village in Ireland. It had quirky characters, an English Catholic priest who didn’t want to be there and an feisty Irish lady Barkeep. Thus began my love affair with Ballykissangel. It was a wonderful BBC soap opera, which was broadcast 1996 – 2001. There is humor and sadness. Peter Clifford, ( Stephen Tompkinson) a young Catholic priest from Manchester, is transferred to the village of Ballykissangel, Ireland, and is taken by the dry-humored publican Assumpta Fitzgerald (Dervla Kirwan) who has almost the exact opposite of his good nature and dislikes the organized church. As soap operas, go this one was very good. The third season was the best as Peter and Assumpta declare their love and are going to leave Ballykissangel.

Both Stephen Tompkinson and Dervla Kriwan left the show at the end of the third season. The 4th, 5th and 6th seasons were good, but didn’t compare to the first 3 seasons. During the last 3 seasons a young actor, Col Farrell, joined the show. He is now know as Colin Farrell, star of many major motion pictures. Stephen Tompkinson now stars in a IPTV show called Wild at Heart, which we also own.

What better time than St. Patrick’s Day than to honor the Irish?  Just so you have something green to read,  we’ve put together a display of some popular Irish authors at the Fairmount Branch.

When Frank McCourt came on the scene with Angela’s Ashes, it seemed everyone was speaking with an Gaelic lilt.    If you’ve already read that, then try his Tis or Teacher Man.

If you’d like a fun little romp, try The Pig Did It by Joseph Caldwell.  I blogged about it last year, so I won’t repeat myself.

Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle, and for good reason.  If you’re thinking about traveling, this beautifully green country has got to be on your list.  Check out our travel section and then reserve your chance to kiss the blarney stone.

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