Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Tale of Coleman the Thirsty

My great-grandfather came from Ireland and to this day there are lots and lots of Colemans in County Sligo, Ireland. The name Coleman was originally O'Colmain (which, if I recall, means "son of the dove"). It was typically Anglicized to Coleman or Colman.

Legend has it that there was a Coleman who was a follower of St. Patrick. The story goes that Patrick sometimes required temperance from his disciples, admonishing them on some mornings when they gathered not to drink alcohol that day. On one of those days, a disciple by the name of Coleman apparently misunderstood Patrick's instructions, thinking he meant not to drink *anything*, and so labored all day harvesting in the hot sun without drinking even a drop of water. At the end of the work day when Patrick and his followers again assembled, Coleman dropped dead in the midst of them from dehydration. He is evermore remembered as "Coleman the Thirsty" (or "Colman the Thirsty") and to this day a common nickname for Colemans/Colmans is "Stadhach", which in Irish Gaelic means "thirsty".

So, if I have a pint a Guinness today it is not for me, but for Coleman the Thirsty.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


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