Confessions of an Irish-American

May your blessings outnumber

The Shamrocks that grow.

And may trouble avoid you

Wherever you go.


  • My fondest St. Patty’s Day memories are my father’s half-serious attempts to convince us that he emigrated directly from the Emerald Isle as a wee lad.  He had The Gift of the Blarney he did.  Unfortunately we kiddies eventually grew wise as we grew older.  Dad could never keep his facts straight, and at various retellings his age during his harrowing crossing of the briny deep was 8,12,10, 6 or 4.  His emigration tale became a running joke at the dinner table whenever he trotted it out.  “What age were you again?”, was the challenge we would toss his way.  But it never seemed to douse Dad’s enthusiasm for the story. 
  • The fact that he never stepped foot onto the campus of the University of Notre Dame never stops a good Irishman from rooting for the Fighting Irish football team!


May you live to be a hundred years, with one extra year to repent.


  • Irish soda bread is best eaten several days after baking, and only if left sitting on the kitchen counter protected by nothing more than a draped cloth towel.  (I really miss those, Mom!)
  • It’s hard to imagine a better combination than St. Patty’s Day falling on the opening round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. 


If you’re enough lucky to be Irish…

You’re lucky enough! 


  • I have never been to a St. Patty’s Day parade.
  • I hate boiled cabbage!  I possess no love for corned beef.
  • One of the best books I’ve ever read was Leon Uris’ Trinity, the story of Ireland’s tragic struggle for independence from Britain and the Protestant-Catholic wars.

As you slide down the banisters of life

may the splinters never point the wrong way. 


  • For years I questioned my Irish ancestry, in part because our surname sounded so unlike the O’Briens/Murphys/O’Neils that were considered of typical Irish heritage.  Until one Saturday afternoon watching The Wide World of Sports, we witnessed the Irish amateur boxing team competing against the U.S. squad.  There was an Irish boxer who shared our last name.  He was promptly pummeled by his American counterpart.  Later a friend visiting The Ould Sod on vacation brought back a picture of an appliance store in Dublin that also shared our last name.
  • I’d rather eat a green salad than drink a green beer.
  • Tonight, I will search my cable and On Demand offerings in an attempt to watch John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man, by far the best Irish movie ever made.  Irish countryside, romance, and a lengthy bare-knuckle fight that any Wayne fan would love!  And Maureen O’Hara isn’t too hard on the eyes either!


May the lilt of Irish laughter

lighten every load.

May the mist of Irish magic

shorten every road…

And may all your friends remember

all the favours you are owed!        

4 thoughts on “Confessions of an Irish-American

  1. All fond memories! However, I never could remember ALL of dad’s emigration scenarios, and I am STILL waiting for his book!

    I always knew I was Irish. I mean, how many 6-year old kids eat dinner and drink beer with their Grandmom, on a card table. Not many.

    Family motto: I have fought and conquered. (So it says on a family name history.)


  2. Irish Stuff I Remember:

    Mom and Dad arguing over which of them were Shanty Irish or Lace Curtain Irish.

    Grandmom’s (an actual Irish Ex-patriot) unusual sayings “May you be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you are dead”

    Of course Dad’s every changing and varied tales about how old or young he was when he came from Ireland. The amount of or lack of money he had in his pocket when he came to America was also inexact. The “facts” would change even in the same story; I am starting to think he may not have come over from the Old Country at all.

    As you will recall some 15 years or so ago Dad and all the uncles were to take a road trip to ND for the Pitt game. Dad had some health issues, he did not go and the trip was canceled. The years that follow saw some of the uncles / brothers pass on and sadly then the trip never happened. Those uncles were perhaps the largest group of men who knew only the first lines of many popular songs but they sang the parts they knew pretty well after a few beers.

    When my boys were old enough we would call home on Saint Patrick’s Day and have them sing Irish songs (Danny Boy, Too Raa Loo Raa Loo Raa, A Little Bit of Heaven,etc) to Mom and Dad.

    FYI: If you want to verify the family is Irish just look for it on the Irish Name Map, it is in Kilkenny.

    Happy Saint Patrick’s Day


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