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Our Opinion

Our Opinion: From Pittsfield to Ballina and everywhere in between, Happy St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day is well-timed this year. No, not just because it falls on a Friday, but because it’s set to be a mild (albeit rainy) day right on the heels of the Berkshires’ biggest snowstorm in more than a decade. Having a relatively warm day to emerge from our snowy cells and share in some merriment is like a diamond, or perhaps an emerald, in winter’s rough.

Speaking of good timing, Pittsfield recently marked the 25th anniversary of its sister city union with Ballina, Ireland. Last weekend, a delegation from this community in the northwest corner of Erin visited their Pittsfield counterparts to celebrate the quarter-century bond between two cities separated by the Atlantic but joined by a genuine sense of connection and affection. There were exchanges of cookies and whiskey, musical expressions of joy and gratitude, and a heartfelt gift of an M-shaped pin (for County Mayo) from incoming Ballina Mayor Michael Loftus to outgoing Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer.

It’s a testament to the strength of community and relationship we can forge, even over thousands of miles, between folks who make efforts of good faith and good cheer. Anne Gagnon, a Pittsfield resident who helped establish the sister-city relationship in the late 1990s, told an Eagle reporter: “We’re really a real family of people.”

Today, that sentiment also gets at what it means to say “everyone’s Irish” for one day a year. It’s not about genealogy or origin; it’s about being together.

Whomever you choose to be together with and however you celebrate, do so with joy and conscientiousness toward your neighbor — whether they’re down the street or across the pond. Have a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day.

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