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...jen o'connor's...Artful Adventures & Daily Inspirations

I Love Art, Adore the Handmade and Treasure the Vintage. I am the Fun Mom, the Silly Friend and the Writer who wants to make more room for beauty in the everyday.

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Irish Anyone?


I was raised a in an Irish-American house in Queens, a tribe of friends and family about me. Our shared background hovered, a constant, coagulating force. Communal knowledge bonded us as did Ireland's presence. It never seemed too distant, our history was just east, across the same ocean that touched the shores of Long Island. I went from one Irish name to another -- Graney to O'Connor without a hitch when I got hitched...

 

My childhood friends had names from the phonebooks of Galway, Kilkenny, Tralee, and dear Donegal. "Mc” and “O”, and “Fitz” this and “Fitz” that. There were Kristina McGann, The O'Connor Brothers, Joanie & John Gibbons, Pat McInerney, Pat McKenna, Pat Kelly, Liz McNelis, Matt McLaughlin, Jim O’Driscoll, Deirdre Duggan, all those Bradys, Kevin O’Shea, Timmy O'Flaherty, Siobhan Flynn, Tara Welch, and all those Leahys who had cousins everywhere, and so many more.
Some had parents with brogues, some said “h” as “hAy-ch”, and all were proud little Irish-Americans.



This place where "we" had come from was heralded as a hauntingly beautiful, full of soft days and green meadows that rolled to cliffs hung on the Sea.





 

But, it was full of pain for those that had left in haste, in hope, or in hunger...making our familiar heritage, sometimes fearsome.

What did this mean to us as collected ethnics?
We learned to re-tell stories of brave clans, wee leprechauns, revolution, magic and superstition.

We competed for who had the most freckles.
When people asked, “Where is your family from?”, they meant, “Which County?”, not which Country.


We cut school – quite forgivingly – to attend the St. Patty’s day parade en masse. We relished the green line painted down Fifth Avenue in our honor and watched in awe as the thousands upon thousands of "New York's Bravest" and "New York's Finest" marched by, all of them Irish in descent.




We sang “Molly Malone”, “The Fields of Athenry” and "The Wearin’ of the Green”. And, we knew with a brave certainty, and hitch in our chest, that U2 was not just another band and that, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” was not just another song.

We knew too that The Irish are prone to wit and festivities, and so were we, and so I am.

So join us, be Irish for a day if you like. But most of all, be proud to be an American where we can celebrate our shared traditions and our differences.

We’ll be wearing green in this house.. and after all, everyone really is Irish on St. Patrick's Day...or so we like to amuse ourselves.

xxoo Jen (and for the generations of my own Irish American forebears)
let's make that....
Jen Graney Sullivan Moran Brady Fitzpatrick Nichols...
....O'Connor
Earth Angels

PS and yes, to the avid readers of me, this is a re-post from '08, but then again, we Irish Storytellers are known to repeat our tales now and again...

2 comments:

Jo Packham said...

Perfect ... for someone who is Jewish!

Jen - Earth Angels said...

too funny Jo xoxoxox

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