Edited extract of an article I wrote for The Canberra Times, March 2013
It’d be St Paddy’s Day soon and not just in Oiland. All over, like. Oi’ll be turnin’ meself into a cliché to get in ehead of the rest of yiz. You can drop the accent now. Keep it for Thursday 17th March, 2022. But why do the Irish celebrate St Patrick’s Day globally by channelling Leprechauns, talking blarney, swilling green beer and slurring ‘When Irish eyes are smiling … da da dada’ because no-one can remember the lyrics? Happy St Clichés Day.
I have the Irish in me. What with the Meehans, the O’Donnells and the O’Mearas, Irishness has been layered in my soul like lines of sediment in a fossilised rock. I’ve inherited the fist fighting fury, the lilting poetry, the blarney and, Holy Mother of Sweet Jesus, bog Irish Catholicism. I’d have pure Irishness throbbing in my veins except for one grandmother, a Beardsell of English stock, sent among us, I suspect, to make the rest of us eat with the proper fork.
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