by Karen Tiplady (an Irish Lass)“Don’t get your Irish up” – a phrase that my Mom would use, which, of course meant my Irish temper. She was mostly German and lucky enough to be just a bit Irish, but my Dad was wholeheartedly Irish.
I love being Irish and am a proud Irishman.
My Irish Grandpop was born in County Kerry; my Dad called him Pop. My Irish Grandma died when I was just four years old. My Mom went to a party at my Grandparents house when she first met my Dad. It was amazingly LOUD in her reserved German estimation. A kindly woman came up to her and asked her what part of Ireland her family was from, to which my Mom quietly responded, “my family is not from Ireland, we are from Germany.” Quite the response just after WWII, but, the lady kindly replied, in her finest Irish brogue, “Oh and it’s okay, you’re nice anyhow.” And, so it began.
My Dad had a laugh that I can still hear even though it has been over 30 years since he passed. People still recollect it with fondness; so do I. My brothers and I have unique laughs, and it also makes me proud to have what I perceive as this Irishness within us.
My Dad used to bring me along with Mr. Murray and Mr. DeCarlentino when we would see Grandpop in the VA Hospital during his declining years. These men were good Catholics, sure they may have frequented the bars but they were good family men, not carousers . . . and my favorite thing about being Catholic: drinking is not a sin. Mr. Murray, my Grandpop and my Dad were full of Irish charm; they were hilarious. Don’t you know that we would check Grandpop out of the VA Hospital in Perry Point “for lunch” and then load him up with a bunch of beers at the American Legion. I drank cokes and ate candy cigarettes that were handy when imitating the smoking men at the bars. We had great fun. Drinking and driving weren’t even against the law then. I was a kid and didn’t realize until adulthood that we were actually returning Grandpop to the VA hospital when he was three sheets to the wind. This would not fly in society now, but perhaps now you might understand why I am so very comfortable with having a good time. Fortunately, I am not a big drinker, but I absolutely love a party. Even though my beverage of choice is Diet Coke or iced tea, I still prefer to sit at the bar when dining out, given the choice. I am comfortable there. There is fellowship.
My maiden name is Sheehan, and I always perceived that Diviney was also a fine Irish name; however, I have verified with Ken that he does not consider himself Irish, but, that’s okay, he is nice anyhow. Time to check the family genealogy, I say . . . cuz, I am having doubts: how can this fine family not be Irish when they have so many of the fonder Irish traits. The map of Ireland is on my face and that is something of which I am proud. Ryan had that Irish charm. So does Ken. I often think that Ken and I are kindred spirits. Whether in Ken’s blood or not, we ooze Irish, the good and the bad.
We are direct, and that is just the way that it is. Irish diplomacy: the ability to tell someone to go to hell and have them look forward to the trip (Real and raw, that is a fact). Speaking for myself, I have two volumes: loud and louder. Ken is quieter, so maybe I should believe him that he is not Irish, but that’s okay, he’s nice anyhow. We are determined, persistent, and we do not give up. We have a sense of justice. We have a temper. We are stubborn. We are your best friend or your worst enemy. We love with all of our hearts. Don’t mess with one of our family members – just don’t. We have a great sense of humor, and we like to have fun. You can take that to the bank.
It is worthy of mentioning that a typical Irish approach to life includes the following:
To forgive is divine therefore most Irishmen don’t practice.
The Irish do not want anyone to wish them well; they want everyone to wish their enemies ill.
We compete for everything, even stuff that doesn’t matter, doesn’t everyone? . . . and, if you don’t, we simply don’t understand why that is.
However long the road there comes a turning.
The eye of a friend is a good looking glass.
May the roof above never fall in and may the friends beneath it never fall out.
Consider all of this when you consider me . . . and Ken. It will help you to understand where we come from . . . we tell it like it is with a certain irresistible charm. I love me a good Irishman even though I married a Scottish/Englishman, but, it’s okay, he’s nice anyhow.