Friday, March 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 33): Smiles from Ireland

St. Patrick's Day is approaching. For simplicity's sake I usually say I'm half Irish and half German. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a quarter Irish and a quarter Scotch-Irish, so perhaps I'm less entitled to celebrate than some. :-) (I'm also a quarter German and a quarter Alsatian, so German or French depending on the year.) I did, however, study there for five months, so I feel a bit privileged by that account.

If you want to hop around my blog a bit, you can read a primer on Irish culture for children (food, music, history, etc.) and a story of me getting absolutely soaked one lovely Irish day.

Peter, St. Patrick's Day 2011

A joke from "me dear mither": Timothy was a popular man, so it was no wonder his wake was full to overflowing. There weren't enough chairs to go 'round, so someone slipped the middle chair out from under the casket, reasoning that the end two would be enough to support it. When Fr. John arrived, he was appalled. "Have ye no respect for the dead?! There must be THREE chairs, for the Holy Trinity!" Michael looked up from his beer and shouted out, "Hic! Hic! Hooray!"

While I was studying in Galway, friends back home would ask, "Can you do the Irish accent yet?" Sort of. I could do an Irish accent, but there are as many different accents as there are counties, if not more, and a good deal of pride about each. I once asked my friend, "Kevin, where are you from? You sound different from everyone else." He replied, "I'm from Roscommon. And I sound different because I'm cultured." :-)

My friend Karra and I visited the shrine in Knock, County Clare, where Mary appeared. In this apparition, unlike many others around the world, she said nothing. Those who live in County Clare say of course she didn't, there was no need to give advice to people so surely on the road to heaven. Those not from Clare believe she tried, but couldn't get a word in edgewise in such a place.

My mom has had a tin whistle since I was a little girl, so I bought myself one while I was over there. It can be a bit shrill, but Peter likes to hear me play and enjoys blowing into it himself, producing a variety of squeaks and squawks. My husband commented to me today, "I wouldn't mind if you wanted to play bassoon instead."

One weekend, my roommate's family took me sightseeing. Her younger siblings were very impressed that I could sing Fields of Athenry in its entirety. Their mother encouraged, "Now that she sang one of our songs, why don't you sing one of hers?" They immediately broke into an enthusiastic rendition of Waltzing Matilda. Australian, American... same difference.



  1. Happy Saint Patrick's day! Unsurprisingly, people don't seem to celebrate that much here. Well, except for the Irish transplants. :)

    1. Thanks! And since you reminded me, I think I'm going to continue my celebration by having some Irish soda bread as a late-night snack. I'll blame you next time I'm annoyed that I haven't lost my pregnancy weight yet. ;-)