Éirinn go Brách

 Posted by on March 17, 2015  Travel, Updates
Mar 172015

The year I turned 10 years old my family lived in Scotland and England, as my Dad did sabbaticals there. That summer, Dad couldn’t resist the chance to head over to IRELAND for a bit of ancestor hunting, and we tracked down MUCKALEE; the tiny KILKENNY village that his mother’s ancestors were from.

Dad had been lost in his quest till hooking up with an old local bloke named GER DOYLE, who led us around the parish following various leads. Between each reminiscing oldster that he led us to, he’d suggest a quick “nip into the pub” where Dad was buying, and Mum waited in the car with us kids. Then Dad and Ger Doyle would come out of the pub and jump in the car and we’d be off again, to examine another lead and talk to another old character, followed by another “quick nip into the pub” and so on, with Dad getting wobblier with each pub-visit. I think Ger Doyle got quite a few free pints o’ The Guinness that day, because I remember Dad got quite unsteady on his legs, which was not his regular style at all.

After various colourful encounters with various colourful citizens, all of whom we were probably related to in some way or other, we finally met up with the priest at the local church. He pulled out some ancient parish registers and lo and behold, Dad found an entry for his own ancestors’ marriage (Brennan + Tobin) and a later entry that said they’d “departed for the colonies” (in the mid 1800s I think). At least for my Father’s Mother’s line, this is the KUNTA KINTE moment; hard evidence of our ancestors-zero who led my family to the New World, and finding that evidence was a personal triumph for Dad.

As for me, I was the only member of my family to kiss the Blarney Stone (in county Cork) and if you’ve ever had to suffer through all my windbaggery, that’s the reason why– for it’s said that anyone who kisses the Blarney Stone will get “the gift of gab“. I vividly remember being held by my legs by a burly surly Irishman as I hung out of Blarney Castle backwards, to kiss that old greasy stone on the castle wall. Like all tourists who’d lined up to kiss the famous stone that day, I got an official “I kissed the Blarney Stone” certificate (which has long since disappeared). The epilogue to this story came recently, when my Irish friends Greg and Louise visited San Francisco. I shared this memory of my own personal childhood triumph in Ireland, the seat of my Celtic ancestors, and was told with great glee: “Ah yes, the Blarney Stone. For a laugh, the locals around Blarney Castle piss on it after hours.”

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibh!!

  24 Responses to “Éirinn go Brách”

  1. Well it really is a small world Jamie! My Dad is from an even smaller village about 3 miles from Muckalee called Rhue, Johnswell. I was taken to a lot of masses in Muckalee . I remember the church because it was pink! My Dad’s Mams maiden name was Brennan! … Maybe we were in Muckalee at the same time when you came to visit…… Wouldn’t that be funny..

  2. HAAAAAHAHAHAHAAAAAAHAHAHAAAAAAA!!! Love this! Thank you, Jamie.

  3. Celebration of the day of green!

  4. It really was great to see you again you old fart. Happy St. Paddy’s day!

    • It was a joy seeing you both as well, you scaliwag! I nearly did a spit-take when you informed me where I’d put my mouth. Happy St. Paddy’s day, Greggie!

  5. In honor of your heritage in Kilkenny I present you with the Ruberbandits Guide to Kilkenny. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXL_WOjkrvU

  6. It would be pretty hard to aim your pee at the actual spot I think

  7. I’m dizzy just looking at those pictures. It’s safe to say that I will never hang upside down and kiss pee…knowingly.

  8. “departed for the colonies” lol

  9. That “quick nip into the pub” gimmick is a pretty good racket!

  10. The motherland. The Richardson’s have Scottish heritage but were “driven out” as I was told at a kilt store in Inverness

  11. Ah yes! The old Blarney Stone story!

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