Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Éirinn go Brách - a Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all!

Unless you're deaf, dumb, blind, and live under a rock, you are aware, I'm sure, that today is St. Patrick's Day. I am half Irish - my mom was half Irish, and my dad is as well - and though I have a tendency to identify more with my German side of late, my Irish pride can't help but spilleth over every year on this date. My Irish ancestors have been some of my toughest nuts to crack, and I am still for the most part unsuccessful tracing any of those lines further than a generation back in the old country. I know a lot about many of them, though, on this side of the pond, though I have a few who have maintained their Irish mystery, much to my chagrin.

I boast ancestors from Counties Cavan, Westmeath, Cork, Limerick, Kerry, and Longford. My Gorrys and Corrs were here in New York by the mid- to late-1840s, refugees of the terrible Great Potato Famine, and on the other side of my tree, the Cronins didn't arrive till the mid-1890s, searching for new opportunities in a new land. My great-grandfather, Timothy Cronin, is the most recent immigrant on my tree, generation-wise and year-wise - my family has been here so long that a lot of the culture from their European homelands has been lost, though some of the Irish has managed to live on, passed down to us by Timothy's daughter, Mary, my grandmother. It is she who first told me about leprechauns, and how her father saw one once when he was living as a boy in Ireland. Well, my grandmother would never lie, and her father probably never lied to her, so when my elementary school teacher asked us to name made up creatures and one of my classmates threw out leprechauns among all the dragons, unicorns, and fairies, I promptly raised my hand and announced to my whole class that leprechauns were, in fact, real.

My grandmother used to complain about the leprechauns a lot - they are a mischievous lot and apparently continued to play tricks on her and hide her belongings well into her later years, even here in New York. I live in her old apartment now and have yet to see a leprechaun, though whenever I lose my keys or misplace a book or some other item, I have a feeling there are some wee Irish shoemakers behind it. My grandmother passed away last year and would've celebrated her 100th birthday in a couple of weeks and today, especially, I really miss her.

So today I will raise a pint and teach my 2 year old, who is half Latina and only a quarter Irish but looks more Irish than I do, how to say "slàinte" instead of her usual "cheers" (she'll be drinking milk btw!). As they say, "If you're lucky enough to be Irish, you're lucky enough." Luckily, today we're all Irish, in spirit if not ancestry, so wherever you are and whomever you're with, a Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all!

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely post. I missed it until today. I am glad you were feeling your Irishness. I'm sure your grandma would be very proud of your Irish pride!