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Kiss Me, I’m Irish

by Rebecca Dance

I didn’t realize I was Irish for the longest time, even though my mother’s maiden name is McCarthy, my favorite storybook when I was a little kid was Hush: A Gaelic Lullaby, by Carole Gerber, and my mother makes corned beef every Saint Patrick’s Day. Looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t figure out I was Irish earlier. I mean, I learned “Rattlin’ Bog” as a sing-along at Girl Scout camp and didn’t realize it had any other uses until I got to college. Really, it wasn’t until my aunt gave me a jewelry box full of my grandmother’s jewelry and I decided I wanted her Claddagh ring that the pieces started to fall into place. 

With this publication coming out on Saint Patrick’s Day, I wanted to write about something that called in my heritage, and the theme of the day, and I settled on “Kiss me, I’m Irish.” I understand that it’s meant to represent luck. Ireland, the Emerald Isle, home of the leprechauns and their pots of gold, is, in theory, a very lucky place. 

Take a moment to think about it though: in what universe has it been lucky to be Irish? Without even diving into the issues between the British and Irish, I can just even start with the potato famine and being forced to scatter to other places. It sure isn’t that lucky to be Irish when you think about that. Also, leprechauns aren’t particularly lucky – they’re considered to be chaotic neutral at best and downright devilish at worst. They don’t want to give you any gold, or grant you any wishes. Their magic is finicky at the best of times. 

So, coming up on this Saint Patrick’s Day, I hope that everyone has a beautiful weekend. Go looking for a four leaf clover, or a pot of gold. However, if you see me – please don’t kiss me. I might be Irish, but I think the kissing is best left to my boyfriend.