JEFFERSON, Iowa, March 13, 2023 — Count on a good time at the Greene County Historical Museum on St. Patrick’s Day, when the whole world is Irish.
To celebrate the day, the Greene County Historical Society is hosting a gathering at 1 p.m. on Friday, March 17, at the Museum, 218 E. Lincolnway in Jefferson.
In Ireland, the event would be called a “craic,” which is Gaelic for “a good time” especially when the conversation is lively and fun. It’s pronounced “crack.”
Craics often take place in pubs, where the tavern crowd talks and laughs and sings along with a fiddler or a flutist.
There’ll be no Irish stout at the Museum’s free event but there will be conversation and song. The craic will include readings by Jefferson residents Hollie Roberts and John Turpin. The singing of Irish songs will be encouraged, with Jeffersonians Rick Morain playing the piano and Peg Raney strumming her guitar.
Morain claims about 12 percent Irish heritage. Raney, whose maiden name is Nolan, grew up in northern Iowa’s Irish enclave, Emmetsburg, where St. Paddy’s day is celebrated with a big parade.
The song list will surely include “Peg O’ My Heart,” plus “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” and “Who Threw the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder.”
Turpin will read a few Irish legends, and tell a few Hibernian jokes. As far as he knows, he lacks Irish genes, but may be Irish by association: His wife Janis’s grandmother was an O’Connell.
Roberts, of Norwegian descent and without a drop of Irish blood, harbors a love for the Irish. She’ll raise a few Irish toasts and offer a few limericks.
Betty Connor Kuebler, also of Jefferson, was born in Coleraine, a town 50 miles from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and immigrated to Greene County in the late 1950s. She’ll recall her memories of the Emerald Isle.
There will be refreshments, including cake and cookies, and drawings for wee Irish door prizes.
Everyone is welcome to attend the free event, and enjoy a good time. “Wearin’ of the green” is the uniform of the day.