Our Little Irishman


Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. There is a little Irish in everyone today. I’ll always remember flying into Boston on Saint Patrick’s Day a few years ago. I had packed a green shirt for the occasion and was in good company. Everyone was wearing green in a great show of festive solidarity. Boston is a great place to be on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Our youngest son considers himself to be Irish, and he is. He has heard us tell his birth story multiple times and has internalized it. The story goes that we did not know if he was going to be a boy or a girl so we had a name for each picked out: Virginia if a girl and an Irish boy’s name if a boy. (not mentioned for his protection) He was born a boy with red hair and blue eyes befitting of his Irish name. We nicknamed him our little Irishman.

Our lineage is English and German on my side and English, Scottish and Irish (Moynahan from Dingle Bay) on my husband’s side. Interestingly a few years ago my father discovered that his great-grandfather had in fact been Irish. It was discovered on his death certificate. “How did no one know this?” I asked my Dad. He explained that when his great-grandfather immigrated there was prejudice against the Irish. He would have been excluded from many opportunities. No Irish Need Apply or “NINA” was prevalent. In order to survive he hid his brogue and made his way. It’s hard to imagine that landscape and even harder to imagine on today’s celebratory occasion.

Our younger Irishman doesn’t have to hide a brogue and thankfully doesn’t have to hide his Irish heritage either. That’s worth celebrating.