1. My current favorite Irish quote is this one: “I have never liked working. To me a job is an invasion of privacy.” - Danny McGoorty
2. This is what I said in a past entry about how my Irish background was a consideration in the conception of this blog: I wasn’t completely aware of why I chose a picture of me in Ireland, wearing a shamrock pinned to my sweater with a waterfall behind me, for my blog photo. I knew it had something to do with wanting to take a break from writing political commentary and following the news compulsively (although being involved in politics is yet another Irish trait). I wanted to let my hair down, tell a good story, and hoped that the fairies and the gift of the blarney would come over me.
3. Being of Irish decent also figures into my writer’s bio: I come from a long line of working class, non-intellectuals who were self-taught.. On my father’s side, there are indications that writing is in my genes. I have a poem in newsprint that my Grandmother from Ireland wrote, and a published piece of music with lyrics by Grandfather. When reading “How the Irish Saved Civilization” a few years back, I was struck by how the common Irish, who were hired by monks to hand copy the classics, wrote little poems and ditties (often about how boring their task was) in the margins of their work. “Those were my ancestors,” I thought. It’s no wonder I consider myself a folk writer.
4. Winter was so mild this year that the hammock in our yard never came down and the kale and turnip greens in our garden never completely died off. They’ve started to come back in full force, which means I have a bumper crop of greens growing in my garden for spring.
5. While riding up and down the backstreets of Beaufort, SC, recently on my bike, enjoying the beautiful homes, many of which were mansions, I realized that I never covet other people’s houses or cars, only their roses.
6. The day before leaving for our recent trip to camp along the ocean on Hunting Island State Park, I found out that my book, “The Jim and Dan Stories” was going to be used by a group of book club members in Blacksburg. My husband, Joe, drove to meet my friend Alex, who read the book and suggested it to the group, at the Christiansburg exit of 81 to deliver 10 books to her.
7. Joe loves to play golf to the point that some people might perceive me as a golf widow, but I think he, as the husband of a writer, was a widower first.
8. Recently when he told me that he was going to play golf, I said, “You dog!” He looked dejected by my comment until I added, “No, I don’t mean you’re in the doghouse, I mean you lucky dog! Go for it!”
9. Joe once dedicated a song to me, which he sang acappella from the stage of Oddfella’s Cantina on Irish Night. It was “The Star of County Down,” a traditional song recorded by Van Morrisson with my name in the lyrics…Near Banbridge town in the County Down one morning in July…Down a boreen green came a sweet colleen and she smiled as she passed me by. I still smile when I remember it.
10. My name, Colleen, means GIRL in Gaelic.
11. My husband’s family name, Mooney, originated in Offaly County, Ireland. Some of my Irish ancestors were Dineens, a family name that also originated in Offaly, which means that my husband’s ancestors and mine might have known each other.
12. This is what I said in a past entry about my Irish heritage: When I went to Ireland in 1997 to visit my grandmother’s hometown, I learned more about myself there than I could have in 10 years of psycho-therapy. The majority of the Irish people I met reminded me of my own family. I saw the faces of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings in their faces. And that’s not all. The Irish tend to be unpretentious, playful, tender-hearted, nostalgic, self-directed, and not overtly ambitious. They are often self-deflecting, something that can be endearing but it can also border on an inferiority complex. And I thought these traits were unique to my own family.
13. And this from the same entry is worth repeating: Although most Americans are aware of the devastation of Irish famine, our history books don’t tell the story of the Penal Laws that were imposed on the Irish by the English from the late 1600s to the nineteenth century. Under these laws, the Irish were denied their right to own land in their own country, to go school, to practice their religion, or speak in their own language. Poverty and oppression under foreign domination for centuries are likely to be contributing factors in the Irish trait of self-depreciation…. But before you get the idea that the Irish are sweet and meek; think again. They also have a history of being warriors, and they are hardly repressed (as much as the English and the Catholic Church tried) when it comes to self-expression, including that of a volatile or rebellious nature.
Post Note: Find out how to participate in 13 Thursday from herself at Just the Girl Next Door or click on the 13 icon on my sidebar to visit others who also play.