Tie one on for the Celtic nations
There's more to Celtic history and tradition than St. Patrick's Day and green beer. At least that's the word from Debbi Codd, owner of Celtic Crossing in Portsmouth. While shoppers are invited to sample some Barry's tea and soda bread on the days leading up to St. Patrick's day, the shop doesn't play favorites when it comes to Celtic celebrations.
Bet you a pint of green beer you can't wait for St. Paddy's Day, eh?
"Well, sure. In March we do see some extra business, but actually, we are a store that represents all seven Celtic Nations, which includes Scotland, and for us Robbie Burns Day is a more popular holiday. "
"Robert Burns, you know the bard noted for penning 'Auld Lang Syne. 'We celebrate on January 25, which is his birthday." According to Dodd, it is a day of Haggis, bagpipes and good cheer.
Pish Posh Robbie Burns, let's talk a bit about St. Paddy, I mean it being March and all.
"Oh sure, gotcha, you kinda missed Robbie's day. Well, most of my shop is 95 percent Irish, with some items from Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Galicia and Asturias, Isle of Man and Brittney. It's the goods from Scotland that are much easier to import and the exchange rate is better."
Well, surely you are looking forward to St. Patrick's Day - what are people buying?
"We carry a lot of winter riding caps, which are very Irish. They are made of Irish wool, and we have a nice selection of fine woolen scarfs for people to wear if they plan to go to a St. Patrick's Day parade."
Dodd says her shop doesn't cater to holidays, but more to the history and traditions associated with the Celtic nations on a year-round basis.
"Surprisingly, we do a good deal of business in our wedding rings."
Do you mean the Claddagh rings?
"No. If we sold only the Claddagh, only the Irish would want them. The others wouldn't wear those - remember, we are a Celtic shop." Dodd says part of the Celtic culture is to wear artwork that contains lines that are never broken. "We have a variety of Celtic braids and woven bands because a lot of people are trying to attach themselves to their ancestral culture."
So what is the best thing to buy for St. Patrick's day?
"Instead of giving her a bit of the green, give her some of the gold."
Spoken like a true retailer. Cheers.
This article appears in the March 2009 issue of New Hampshire Magazine