Friday, March 17

Happy St. Patricks Day aka an Irish Tale

It's probably pretty safe to assume with a name like "Tara" somewhere in my heritage you'd find an Irishman, actually it turns out to be both my grandmothers were Irish. Now, if you ask my mom she'd tell you she read Gone With The Wind 6 times while she was pregnant with me, that's when she decided on the name. My grandmother swore she loved the name and nagged my mom into it.

My maternal grandmother spent more than 60 years living here in the states and never lost her brogue. She was still alive when I married and until she passed away in 1987 I had to translate what she was saying for my husband. Personally, I never heard an accent, but apparently it was at times pretty thick.

The funny thing is my grandmother wasn't born in Ireland. She was born in Nebraska. Her father came from Ardara, County Donegal to Nebraska to homestead in 1907 or 8 and sent for my great-grandmother and uncles the following year. My grandmother was born there. But, my great-grandmother was tremendously home sick for Ardara and back they went before 1915. I never quite understood why they came here in the first place, they had a successful sheep farm, wove their own Donegal tweed and had their own market. Apparently great-grandpa was an adventurous soul.

My grandmother was an amazing woman, liberated and worked by choice not because of necessity, most of my mother's life. She never had "corned beef and cabbage" in her life, and was highly insulted when asked if she was "shanty or lace curtain Irish?" She gave her wedding dress away to a woman marrying a GI heading overseas during World War II.

So, I wonder how many people can claim their family emigrated from Nebraska to Ireland? My strange tale gets a little stranger. My mother's father was French Canadian, born in New Hampshire and raised on a ranch in Edminton, Alberta, Canada, never lived a day of his life in French speaking Canada and my great-grandfather never considered himself "Canadian", he was "French".

Both my grandparents came back to America around 1929 and they met while working in a hospital in NYC. Grandma was an elevator operator and Grandpa was an orderly.

My dad's mother was born in Brooklyn and lived there her entire life, her family came here before the Civil War. My dad's father was Italian, my dad's great-grandfather also came here before the Civil War, he was asked to leave Italy, but that's another tale. Little Grandma (she was 4' 10") was 2nd or 3rd generation Irish-American , Big Grandpa (6' 2") was 2nd generation Italian-American. Grandma was disinherited for not only not marrying an Irishman, but also for marrying someone non-white!??!

So, there you have my families Irish tales.

Is everyone wearing their "green" today?

Have a good one and happy reading.

6 comments:

ReneeW said...

What a great family history story. Loved it. I forgot to wear green, but some nice person brought in a bunch of shamrock pins for anyone who forgot. I have mine on now. :) Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Tara Marie said...

Don't feel bad about forgeting the "green", I had to search my closet for a olive green t'shirt. The only thing I own that's green, not my favorite color. Though most people tell me I have the map of Ireland on my face. I don't need anything green to show my heritage.

My son went to school in a cute t'shirt my mom bought at a Celtic Festival--it says Pasta and Potatoes, Italian and Irish. Maybe I'll post his picture later.

Anne E. said...

I am Irish through my father's maternal line. My Irish ancestors (Fergusons and Colgans) came primarily from County Tyrone, which is one of the counties of Ulster, but they were all Roman Catholics. They immigrated to Canada about 1820 and are well documented in Ontario. The Hanleys came later, and while I haven't been able to prove it yet, I think they might be from County Rosecommon, the ancestral county of many, many Hanleys.

My Hanley great-grandparents came to the states in the late 19th century, right after their wedding. Eventually my grandmother met and married my grandfather, who was of English and German background. My father eventually met and married my mother, who was of French and Welsh background.

My grandson is a combination of all this, plus is 1/4 Mexican (his mom is Irish and Mexican background). And we all wore green today!!!

CindyS said...

I love reading about those who came before us. The women in your family obviously take no guff!! Your Grandmother that was disinherited - was she still friends with her family or did she have to move on.

My mother was one of the youngest of 8 kids so her sisters married while she was still young. She remembers having to go to her sister's house to look after her kids because her sister was so messed up. She was Catholic and married a Protestant but could not get married in a Catholic church. I think after five years her husband had enough, took her off the isle (Newfoundland) and found a Catholic priest to marry them again. Years later she said to my mother, can you believe how something so silly affected me so deeply.

CindyS

Sam said...

I found a green sweater - there is a bit of Irish in the family - my great-great grandfather was an Irish policeman in NYC. (Sharp) I never met him - he was my great-grandmother's father. So the blood is pretty diluted, but it's there, lol.

Tara Marie said...

Cindy--My grandmother had next to very little contact with her family after she and grandpa married, it's rather sad.

Sam--My MILs family can trace there roots back before the Revolution and her "Irish" blood is non-existant at this point, she is a true American mix and yet she claims her heritage is Irish and German. Once Irish always Irish--LOL.