On my last night in Dublin, my friends came together at the Cobblestone for my “American wake”.
Sheila Whelan (Fergus’ wife) originally suggested the idea. She told me that when someone leaves Ireland for the US, the Irish traditionally hold a wake for them. In older days when people, like my great-grand mother, set sail for the States, a wake was held since the person wasn’t expected to return. Thankfully, flying has made the return trip much easier!
When I explained I wanted to return, Sheila said, “no worries!” Evidently, my return will give us a reason for a welcome back party! I’m hoping for one of those on my November visit.
Irish wakes are typically held when someone dies, and they celebrate the deceased person’s life. There’s lots of drinking, craic/merry-making, and music. They are similar to America wakes, which are held for the living. As explained on Wikipedia, the term American wake:
refers to a gathering in an Irish home the night before a family member emigrated to America, in which friends and family would say goodbye to the emigrant for what was probably the last time.
American Wake is the first full-length solo album by Patrick Clifford, released in 2010.
Thanks to my many friends who came to the wake, and to others who sent well-wishes from their summer vacation destinations.