3.17.2006

I'm not irish, but my husband is, so I do have a little irish in me from time to time.

the irish-american culture is fascinating. I don't think anyone identifies so strongly to their roots as irish americans. and we're talking like 7 or 8 generations away from ireland, still they identify so strongly to being irish. or part irish.

my father was conceived in italy but was born in america. his father didn't come over until after he was born. my great grandmother only came over after many years and when she did, she refused to learn english. my dad, on the other hand, refused to speak italian.

my parents both grew up in south philly where an interesting intersection of irish folks and italian folks makes for alot of brawls. in some of the more isolated parts of south philly, it's their own brand of gang violence. the irish and the italians do not like each other at all, for no other reason than the fact that their parents felt that way because their parents felt that way because their parents felt that way.

without going into much more detail, suffice it to say that it wasn't the best news back in 2000 that my new boyfriend's name was sean milligan. but my family has tolerated sean's irishness pretty well, I think.

the funniest part? my mother's family is partially irish. "do as I say, not as I do."

happy st. patrick's day!

6 validations:

thelyamhound said...

the irish-american culture is fascinating. I don't think anyone identifies so strongly to their roots as irish americans. and we're talking like 7 or 8 generations away from ireland, still they identify so strongly to being irish. or part irish.

Well, otherwise we'd just be WHITE people. And that's no fun, is it?

Seriously, though, I think there's something fairly "east coast" about that phenomenon (although, for these purposes, I'll also include Chicago under that umbrella). Out here, we Irish/Scottish/Welsh (being a good bit of all three, I simply refer to myself as a Celt) really ARE just white people.

Back east, on the other hand--and I get out there a good bit, since pretty much my whole family is out there (extended family in NYC, upstate NY, my parents and brother in RI)--it seems that Irish ethnic identity is pretty ingrained.

NME said...

My family is nearly of 100% German descent - with my Dad "off the boat." But as we all know proud Germans are scary - so I kind of envy the Irish their St. Patrick's Day.

lonna said...

I remember how weird it was when I moved to Indiana that no one was Irish. I only had one student named Murphy in my 8 years at Purdue and she was from NYC. Iowa is pretty lacking in Irishness too. I also grew up where most people are Irish or Italian, but in the suburbs people have enough space and they don't fight:)

In the city, we lived mixed in with Polish and Lithuanian. So there are a lot of those mixtures in the neighborhood these days.

My family came over from Ireland 3 and 4 generations before me, but my dad's generation was the first to not marry their fellow Irish. My dad has very little interest in being Irish. He insists that his family came to America for a reason. I, however, do love being Irish. I think it has a lot to do with my mom's background. She is a complete mix of everything White, since her family came over on the Mayflower. There's also some Native American background in her family. So it's hard to feel ties to that, but it's so easy to feel ties to my dad's 100% Irish background.

P.S. My mom always says that she's Irish by injection. Groan!

Stine said...

Yeah Ly's mom's maiden name is O'Connor, and my maiden name is Shaw - pasty Celts all.

Steve B. said...

I am half Italian (Mom's Side). And half a bunch of other things (Dad's Side). I definately do not understand the whole St. Patrick Day thingie. I have alittle Irish in me on my Dad's side obviously and I still dont get it. I think it is great to be proud of where you came from but for some reason I don not think that this day has anything to do with that. I will have to research it now. WHY DO PEOPLE CELEBRATE ST. PATRICKS DAY? Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Kodi said...

I am mostly Norwegian, and we have a lot of Norske pride in the family. I enjoy st. paddy's day and also like to celebrate cinco de mayo. I am indiscriminate in my holidays if they allow me to drink and eat freely.