Friday, March 17, 2006

Amber Go Bragh!

I’m half Irish. My mom’s family is full-on Irish – my great-great-grandparents came from County Cork and Dublin and somehow, the family ended up in Illinois. My grandpa came from a family of eight kids and my grandma came from a family of eleven kids. Our original name was “O’Herlihy” but as with many other immigrant names, it was Americanized when they got here.
My mom is the oldest of five kids – three sisters and a brother. So needless to say, between my mom’s 17 aunts and uncles and all of their kids, plus my mom and her sisters and brothers, I’m hard pressed to go anywhere in my parents’ hometown without running into someone I’m related to or who knows someone in my family. We’re EVERYWHERE. One of us could be sitting next to you RIGHT NOW. Ooooohhhh.Spooky. Ha.
Anyway. My parents are the only ones from their families to leave their hometown. As a result, I didn’t grow up with my multitude of cousins, which I always thought was kind of a bummer. I always had a blast when we visited though, because let’s just say it – my family is a RIOT. Funny and fun and loud and obnoxious – there isn’t an occasion when things are quiet and “subdued” isn’t generally in our vocabulary. We'll out-loud, out-funny, out-wit you and if you don't like it, well, we'll kick your ass.
I have 13 cousins and for some weird and unexplained reason, we were pretty much all born in pairs. Except for two singles, every one of us has a cousin who is the same age. Mine is my cousin Josh – I’m older than him by exactly two months, and even though we obviously didn’t grow up together, we ended up being close. When we started college, it was the advent of email and IM, and so we’d go to our schools’ computer labs at a specific time and talk most nights. Eventually we got tired of that and started talking on the phone all the time – until my uncle got Josh’s $400 phone bill. He made us cut it down a little. We stayed close and we still talk on the phone, just not as much as we used to. We’ve drunk dialed each other, argued, listened to the other one cry, laughed our asses off and told the other one we loved them.
I love my mom’s family and it makes me happy that even though I missed out on a lot, I have Josh and our memories. So the pictures. The first one is of my mom, my grandparents and some of my aunts and uncles. The second one is Josh and I when we were probably eight. I have a huge shelf of old pictures of my family, and when I was framing these, I noticed something funny. If you look in the black and white picture at the expression on our parents’ faces, and then look at the picture of us and the expressions on OUR faces, well, you see whose kid belongs to who.
The last picture is Josh and I a couple of years ago when he came to visit me – we were out to dinner with my parents and, shocker, we’re laughing.
I love my big family and I love that I have so much history – it’s cool to know where I came from and really, what’s cooler than being IRISH? Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!


Edge said...

Nothing's cooler than being Irish! The rest of you will just have to wonder.


Hope said...

Okay, I tried to comment, but blogger ate my comment, so sorry if it shows up twice or something.

I love the pics. The similarities are amazing!

I have a big family too, and we moved up north while my parent's families stayed in the south. I always wished we had family closer by too. What I'm trying to say is: Yay, for big families!

lil'bitty said...

My Daddy is the youngest of NINE (two families melded not unlike the brady bunch - but that is the only brady similarity though) and Mommy is the youngest of TWO (only one marriage). As an innocent bystander and as yet an only child, I agree that big families ROCK!!!! Little families are cool too. I think big or little the best families have fun together.
Ok, I'm not sure what to make of my word verification, I'm pretty sure it makes some reference to porn so I won't include it. But I am a little disturbed. Eh, I'll live.

Whinger said...

You were just the cutest kid ever.

Irish people rock, especially if they're half Irish.

Amanda said...

that's awesome. i love the pictures, pride and nostalgia. happy st. patty's day.

Alice said...

hooray! happy st. patty's day! i was sitting here, being nicely irish and wearing my green tshirt with a shamrock on it, when i was OVERCOME with the desire - nay, NEED - to go drinking after work today. i haven't really "gone drinking" since the advent of Alice The Gimp, yet today? st. patrick's day? i feel the call (perhaps it was the mocking) of my irish ancestors and will proceed to go tie one on very shortly :-D

Okie said...

I have no idea where my peeps came from. Despite much research, nobody knows.

Marissa said...

what a great family post! you are the most adorable little thing ever in those pics!! happy st. patty's day!!!

luvwannabefree25 said...

Hi... I found your site while cruising around looking for St. Pats stuff... really cool family history... My family came from the old land also.. was O'Driscoll but great grandpa dropped the O... Mom had 10 brothers and sissies... as did dad.. WOW!!! Happy St. Pat's Day!

Mr. Fabulous said...

Very cool post, and very heartwarming. A big Irish family--what could be more perfect!

You know, you're pretty lucky!

Cheryl said...

Hey! My comment isn't here! Blogger hurts me sometimes.

Great post and happy (now late) St. Patty's Day. Since I live in Illinois, maybe some of your family are around me, and I don't know it. That'd be cool.

Sandra Dee said...

I'm half Irish, too! Well, I think it's more like a quarter Irish, but that's okay. I'm still way cooler than anyone else who has no Irish in them. :) P.S. Yay for the green font! How festive.

Sass said...

Hey there,
I can't find your email address anywhere. Can you email me at

Sandra said...

What a cool post, glad you had a happy St. Patty's Day! Green beer is just wrong, though.