I was going to write a post about what being part-Irish means to me, but then I realized that it doesn't mean much of anything. All I can do is ramble and ramble about how there are all these cultural myths (and yes, I have noticed this about other cultures, too) that bloom in America and don't add up to much when you meet someone from the motherland.
I saw a TV news program that claimed that more Americans had a German ancestor than anything else. Irish was second. English third. They did admit, however, that since there were so many illegal Hispanic immigrants, it is hard to know how these rankings could change if we had a totally honest census.
I was never sure what to think of being Irish. I am not Catholic, though both sides of the family had a few ancestors from counties in Ireland that were largely Catholic. The people in my family who had the most Irish in them did generally have the storied bad temper and propensity for alcoholism and depression and other mental problems, but who the hell knows where this comes from? We are a little too mixed to blame the Irish for this, and the people in my family who hailed from other countries had some or all of these traits, too. The way you pick a mate in my family is to say, "Hey, are you fucked up? Really? Let's have some kids! And what is your name again?"
Irish-Irish people I have met have said that the whole Irish-people-have-red-hair thing is crap, though red hair and black hair--never brown or blond--run through the Irish folk in my family. The Aryans, for whom Ireland is supposedly named, spread from India to Ireland and in between. Go back far enough, and we are all related to everyone on earth, so I am leery of the easy cultural associations. Was the red hair a Viking DNA dump? What does it mean to be 'black Irish'? I hear and read varying versions of these things. An English lawyer supposedly wrote the words to "Danny boy." I did read on a magazine from a plane (so it MUST be true) that even if the Irish colonize other places, they still have a higher rate of suicide than surrounding cultures, and this is supposed to mimic the rate in Ireland. Whatever. I don't know. If you had to eat all that mercilessly boiled food and listen to sopranos wailing about bogs, you would kill yourself, too. I give up. This is a pointless post that I will soon delete. Let me find some liquor or an oppressive English person to rail against.
It is St. Patrick's Day, and I am not even wearing green.