I’ve known of my Irish roots since childhood, but never quite understood the meaning of that phrase. It never stopped me from wearing a pin on St. Patrick’s Day that said “Kiss Me, I’m Irish”. (And I must add, I did get a few takers over the years.. haha..) I still have several of those pins, but have chosen not to wear them as I’ve gotten older. At my age, I’m not sure I’d be a willing participant to anyone who’d be might be willing to pucker up.
I Googled the meaning, and here’s what I learned. It has to do with kissing the Blarney stone, which is thought to bring good luck. You’ve heard of the “luck of the Irish”, the “lucky leprechauns”, the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” … so for whatever reason, good luck is associated with Irish things. Most people never see the blarney stone, much less get to kiss it, nor do we find little green men hiding in the woods around these parts. So, legend has it, kissing anything remotely Irish is about the best we can do. Therefore, kissing someone of Irish descent is as good as it gets on this side of the pond. Therefore, I suppose on St. Patrick’s Day, anyone who wants a kiss (or a reason to party!) can claim to be Irish for a day in hopes that someone will kiss them for good luck.
My Irish roots actually did spring forth from the motherland of lush green grass and rainy afternoons. I believe the name of my ancestor who came to America from Ireland was William Strawier Dunahoo. (My cousin Becky has the genealogy, and can confirm the correct name). With the potato famine in Ireland in full swing, there was no work to be had, and he was near destitute. He had no money in his pocket, but he had a dream in his heart. A dream to come to America to make a new life for himself. No money meant no ticket for passage, however, he somehow managed to sneak on board an American-bound vessel, and hid within the bowels of the ship for the entire trip. After he arrived, he worked in a variety of occupations, and over the years, a branch of the Dunahoo family tree was rooted in Statham, where it grew and prospered, and produced several generations of Dunahoos, of which I am a “lucky” member. It's a very interesting story, and I love to hear Becky tell it when we have family gatherings.
I'm not a believer in "luck" so much, but it is kinda neat to be able to know the heritage of my mom's family. Of course, there are three other branches (grandparents) in my family tree; one other of those is thought to be Irish, one German, and I'm not sure about the other. There's a lot of DNA and math involved, but I'm going to claim to be of half-Irish descent. If non-Irish folks can claim to be Irish one day of the year, then I should be able to stake a claim to being half-Irish every day. Right?
Maybe I'll wear my pin today after all!