Yes I’m Irish – and I don’t like Corned Beef or Green Beer

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Not just Irish

Every year I go through the same litany on St. Patrick’s Day — “Why aren’t you eating corned beef and cabbage — you are Irish, right?”  or “What do you mean you don’t drink green beer on St. Patrick’s Day?  Aren’t you Irish?”  or the best one ever – “I can’t believe with a name like yours you don’t have red hair and green eyes!”

Are you serious?  Most of the people getting drunk and stupid (which are usually the same thing) are no more Irish than my dear departed mother (may she rest in peace!).  I don’t assume that my friends of Italian descent only eat lasagna, spaghetti and pizza any more than my Japanese friends only eat sushi!  And I’ve seen lots of pictures of people from Ireland and I know that they don’t all have red hair and green eyes – where the heck did you get that one!

Yes, I am mostly Irish (on my dad’s side) but my mother was Swedish, German and English – so in the words of Bill Murray from the movie Stripes – I’m a mutt – I’m an American!  Which believe it or not allows me to be of Irish descent and not like corned beef  (which according to my Granny Hogan isn’t really Irish food – it’s Irish-American food).  I do like boiled cabbage – mainly because my mother loved it (from the German side of the family – along with sauerkraut!) – and I really like Reuben sandwiches (that would be the American influence!).  I can’t imagine my father or any of his Irish family ruining perfectly good beer by turning it green — that would be blasphemy! 

Am I proud to be Irish?  You bet!  I’m also proud to be Swedish, German and English – but mostly I’m proud to be a descendent of people who came to America to make a better life!  I’m proud to be an American!  Which means I get to be all of the best parts of my ancestors – and I don’t consider corned beef and green beer to the best part of anything — although other people do – and they are welcome to that belief — they can eat and drink my share! 

As for the red hair and green eyes?  Well, I have to admit I always wanted to have red hair and green eyes and be named Fiona — don’t know why.  Must be the Irish in me!

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4 responses »

  1. I have many friends from Ireland, and I am often told that Corned Beef and Cabbage is a truly American thing. In Ireland, you’d be eating “Bacon and Cabbage.’ I must admit though, about this time every year, I truly crave Corned Beef, the way I crave a hearty turkey dinner in the weeks before Thanksgiving.
    I supposed I’ve been conditioned that way. Once the holiday is over, I don’t give it another thought.
    I will not consent to ruin a good beer with green food coloring though. I’ll stick with my authentic pint o’ Guinness, thank you!

  2. I used to think I was part Irish, and eventually asked my Dad, who said no, he thought we were Scottish.

    Tonight I watched parts of a special in Irish immigrants to America, and found out the first Irish who came to the U.S. were Protestants, from Ulster. After they became established and affluent, along came the wave of Irish immigrants who came to America because of the potato famine. They were Catholic and from southern Ireland, mainly.

    Guess what the affluent, established Irish did? First off, didn’t bother to help their bretheren (go figure) and secondly, started calling themselves “Scotch-Irish” to distance themselves from the new Irish coming into the U.S.

    So I guess I could be Scotch-Irish! No matter, I’m a mutt like you. We have German, French and Irish/Scots, as well as native American, and probably some other stuff, too. I never really cared. I’ve always thought of myself as American, and that’s good enough for me. Mutts are the best, anyway — they are hardy and hold up better than thoroughbreds!

  3. Hi Katie. Red hair and green eyes I think came from Maureen O’Hara when she played the part of an Irish wife opposite John Wayne… I think but I am not sure.
    However even without the red hair and green eyes you are a great person. I can tell that by your writings. You write from your heart , even if it is Irish, German, and any other country. A good solid mix of being international and a proud American at the same time, good on ya gal…
    Me, I am English through and through I think but I would like to have a bit of something else just to spice up my life…
    Much love and have a happy day

  4. As a blonde haired, brown eyed Irish (American) girl, I, too, have heard the redhead comment often (and my father was a redhead so I never found it inappropriate)… however, not once have I ever heard green eyes. Blue, yes, but not green. Interesting!

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