Confessions of an Irish-American


From Cashel Rock Castle, South Tipperary, Ireland  (Photo by Mark Reinfeld)

May your blessings outnumber

The Shamrocks that grow.

And may trouble avoid you

Wherever you go.

  • One of my fondest memories are my father’s half-serious attempts to convince us that he emigrated directly from the Emerald Isle – braving wild seas and certain death – as but a wee lad.

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.

Joe Shortall (second from left, front row) during World War II

Joe Shortall (front row, second from left) during World War II

He had The Gift of the Blarney, he did.

His emigration tale became a running joke at the dinner table whenever he delightfully trotted it out.  “What age were you again?”, was the challenge we would toss his way.  Yet it never once seemed to douse Dad’s enthusiasm for the story.

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!)

 If you’re enough lucky to be Irish…

You’re lucky enough! 

  • I have never been to a St. Patty’s Day parade.
  • I have yet to tread upon The Ould Sod myself.  Someday maybe …
  • I hate boiled cabbage!  I possess no love for corned beef.

As you slide down the banisters of life,

May the splinters never point the wrong way. 

  • imagesFor 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 have never had a green beer.  Never desired to have one!
  • 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 ain’t too hard on the eyes either!

  • One of the best books I’ve ever read was Leon UrisTrinity, the story of Ireland’s tragic struggle for independence from Britain and the Protestant-Catholic wars.  If you haven’t had the chance, you should read it.

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!     

This post dedicated to a couple of great Irish parents!

This post dedicated to a couple of great Irish parents!


One thought on “Confessions of an Irish-American

  1. Nice remembrance. Mom was Irish too, as you will recall she claimed to be even Irish-er. I remember their frequent semi-legalistic arguments over the matter. Dad would always try to end the squabble by claiming Mom was “Lace Curtain Irish.” Mom would fire back that Dad’s family were Shanty Irish. Mom and Dad both represented the race well.


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