Local Ireland Native Plans Trip for Wisconsinites

St. Patrick's Day has a lot of Americans celebrating this weekend, but the holiday reminds a local Ireland native of home.

Irish music rings through Basil's halls and through Irish ears.

"My name in Gaelic is Shamish O'Dalig," Basil Restaurant Co-Owner James Daly said.

Daly said St. Patrick's Day has changed during the last 40 years.

"When I grew up in Ireland, St. Patrick's Day was a religious holiday," Daly said. "We didn't have the big parades. We didn't have the big parties. You go to church no matter what day it fell on, and you celebrate St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland."

Now he gets to celebrate his heritage in Ireland with nearly 50 other customers, patrons and friends from Central Wisconsin who signed up after he and his wife Tee Daly organized it.

"They think everyone is like me in Ireland, so they think it'll be a lot of fun," James said.

The Dalys organized the first trip to Ireland and Scotland two years ago, and about 30 people from the area came along.

"It's an eating and drinking trip," James said. "So we like to sample the Irish food because we are a restaurant. We don't turn down any whiskey or Guinness."

There's nearly 50 people booked for this July's trip, and James said they'll see castles, pubs and maybe the blarney stone.

"Now a lot of people kiss the blarney stone when they go," James said.

So while these Irish eyes may be smiling with the thought of sharing his Irish heritage with the people of Wisconsin, this Irish man will leave you with an Irish tune to keep in your heart this St. Patrick's Day.

"If you ever go to Ireland, there's a welcome on the mat ... if your name is Timoty or Pat!" James sang.

Basil of Weston also hosts Irish Fest which is set for the beginning of September.

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