Yep. Yep, I am. I’m not even ALL Irish; I am a mutt. There’s some mixture of English, Welsh, a dash of Danish, and a pinch of Scottish. But 50% or more is Irish, and 100% of me is proud. I’ll tell you a thousand times I’m Irish. My grandparent’s house always had shamrock decorations everywhere [that didn’t have strawberries. Grandma loved strawberry decorations.] Last St. Patrick’s Day my Grampa nearly disowned me for not drinking Guinness [and considering it the greatest beer in life]. It’s good, but not my favorite, but at least I REALLY like whiskey.
I understand that many people get sick of hearing us talk about. I understand that I may not be an expert on the country and I don’t speak Gaelic. No hard feelings. So in defense of the proud Irish:
Yes, for many Irish, the drinking stereotype is pretty true. Yes, especially in South Boston, Dorchester, and many other previously predominantly Irish neighborhoods the rough, rowdy, and outspoken ones still reside. I’ve seen too many memes and stereotyped characters on TV that (ok, kinda fairly accurately) portray the Irish in Boston. I’ve seen it too many times to NOT say this next part.
The Irish have a true passion for life and family and therefore love (though some may be hesitant to admit the latter so easily) that you can understand why they celebrate the way they do. The thirst for drink is not because of hardship, not because of pain or hate or feeling down (mostly- I’ve gotta keep myself honest here, because no culture is perfect). It’s for celebration. Celebrating what good there is, what friendship exists, and what fun life contains. Irish blessings are like none other. “May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back.” Have you ever heard this tune? “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, sure ’tis like a morn in spring / In the lilt of Irish laughter, you can hear the angels sing.” There’s the rough around the edges, but the light heart at the center, which puts the passion in between.
Singing. Laughter. Fun. Celebrating life. Is that not what I base this blog on? I’m only realizing now that it must be this that draws me toward that lesson in life. So as St. Patrick’s Day approaches I’m getting so giddy I can barely contain it. This will be the first time I’ve ever lived so close to the Parade Route. And now is when I start to think, Boston Pride must come largely from the Irish. St. Patrick’s Day Parade is actually the Evacuation Day Parade, too, since it was on March 17, 1776 that the 11 month siege of Boston by the British ended in their retreat from the city. And celebration ensued, because the city’s strength prevailed. And that’s why after the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013, we did not falter or fear, but we rallied, came together with city pride stronger than you’d expect from such a tiny city… unless you know the city-then you weren’t surprised. Stephen Colbert said “Whoever did this obviously did not know sh*t about Boston, because nothing these terrorists do is gonna shake them.”
So yes, I’m Irish. I’m proud. I’m Bostonian. I’m strong. You may find it annoying, but we don’t even notice because we’re too busy celebrating the life we’ve been given with a drink in hand and friends and family in every direction. So you can either roll your eyes, or pull up a stool, pour a glass, and laugh, smile, and celebrate with us.