If everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day, now that it’s over, the non-Irish can return to their own nationalities. But almost half the intertwined strands of my DNA read Irish.
I’m an American Mutt-perhaps redundant considering two generations before me were born here as well-but my most prevalent nationality is Irish.
It’s also the one I take the most pride in and most identify with, even though many don’t think I “look Irish.”
This is based off the redhead, leprechaun stereotype-which is not really based in reality. Most estimations have, at most, 10% of the Irish population as redheads. Now, I do have olive-colored skin which is likely from my other nationalities-though the furthest south we’ve traced so far is Bohemian-the current Czech Republic-not exactly Mediterranean.
Interesting recent DNA research has actually confirmed that the Irish are close genetic relatives of the people of northern Spain. So, maybe that explains it? Tracing true heritage throughout the history of the migration of humankind is inexact at best. Anyone who thinks they really, really know all of their true heritage is full of, as the Irish say, ‘Blarney.’
So, I’ve chosen to identify with my understanding at least of the Irish culture. What aspects of it? The underdogs. Always fighting, literally and figuratively, with the British for respect and their independence.
I especially like the wit-humor tinged with a little bite to it. An example of an Irish ‘prayer’ goes,
“Lord, bless my friends. And bless my enemies too. Turn their hearts if you will…but if you can’t…turn their ankles, so I’ll know them by their limp.”
Or the one we had on our kitchen wall in the house I was raised in.
The Irish seem to have a raw awareness of life’s harsh realities met with a shrug, a smirk and a sonnet. Irish melancholy. The celebratory tone of an Irish wake. This bittersweet viewpoint on life explains the Irish connection with the arts.
Poets and writers (Yeats, Joyce, Lewis, Wilde, etc) It’s beautiful green bluffs often covered by clouds. Actors-there are many current leading men with Irish heritage-George Clooney, Chris Evans, Ashton Kutcher, Robert Downey, Jr, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Chris Kennedy, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, and Ryan Reynolds to name ten or so. Okay, maybe you can spot one name that doesn’t belong in there?
And the musicians in every pub every week throughout Ireland. The more famous-U2, Enya, Snow Patrol, The Coors, Thin Lizzy, The Cranberries.
While many countries’ passports have pictures of crowns, crests, and swords, the Irish passport has a musical instrument. (Harp.)
And so, I pass on this ancestory to Cash, who combined with Meghan, his American Mutt-er, has even more nationalities to his mix. We tried to represent many of them in a decorative, colorful way in his playroom.
Cash has many nationalities to take pride in and yet none that define him. Except maybe on one day in the middle of March, where he’ll feel a little extra special that he’s Irish.