Mine is St Patrick’s Day 🙂
I find it fascinating that when a child is born, it is born as a complete blank canvas, imagine this…like a canvas you would paint on, just blank with nothing on it. We can paint that however we like for our child, therefore, we set the ball rolling as to how they will turn out to be.
I was born and raised in Salford, Manchester. Both of my parents are Irish, they were musicians: mother a singer, father a drummer. My mother’s side were all from Dublin and Limerick and my dad’s side were from Tipperary. They moved over here and met each other, whilst performing in a show band together and the rest is history.
Growing up, Irish culture was something I lived in, though I was none the wiser – just a slip of a child. Our house was filled with music: Irish music, country music, late night singing after they’d get home from performing.
I remember being with the babysitters, allowed to be up really late one night, till mum and dad got in, listening to the stories of the night’s show.
Off I’d pop to my Irish dancing lessons from aged 4, in a tiny hut-type of venue with wooden floors and a strict dance teacher. Mum’s mum, Nana Ryan, was also a singer and my grandad a singer and musician. Together they had 11 children and they were all musicians, so get-togethers for rehearsals, or just for fun, was the norm in our house- or Nana Ryan’s.
Pots of tea would be on the boil constantly. The native dish of bacon, cabbage and boiled potatoes was a number one favourite dinner, in a pot big enough that everyone could have some. The smell filled the air and us kiddies would drink the cabbage juice from a cup we’d scoop out of the pan! Sounds disgusting now, though these are my memories.
We’d always be at Nana’s house; she was the queen bee and it was always packed. Always someone coming and going, sitting in the kitchen chatting. Have you ever seen Mrs Brown’s Boys? That was us! 🙂
We’d have horse racing on the TV, always having a bet, watching the GAA (Gaelic football) listening to traditional musicians on the fiddle, flutes and accordions, Ireland rugby team on the TV…whatever it was, it was Irish.
I always remember my mum was so beautiful, with long black hair and pale porcelain skin. She’d have beautifully made up her face and had a feminine, killer figure. They’d often trick me at the door to say, “I’ll be back in a minute,” yet I’d open the porch door to see them driving away all dolled up in the gig van. I’d be sobbing on the doorstep, in my dungarees with a giant red love heart on.
Laughter, teasing and winding-up was always key in our house. They say the Irish are full of craic, well that was definitely true at home; there was always someone winding another up and telling jokes.
My parents taught us to respect our elders and taught us all about our history. Nana would tell me of hard times back home and what brought her over to England in the first place. Grandad was fiercely proud of his country and would drum it into me where I came from.
Even though I was born in this country, I lived in an Irish home and we were taught from a young age what this was about.
After dating a string of men, I realised that an Irish man was what I was looking for, or at least a man of Irish descent; someone who just ‘got it’. You see, I’d have to leave my man in a huge family full of singing and banter and know that he would survive! And I found someone from the same culture who suited this. And I was right.
We went on to to have two beautiful children, with Irish names, and I now teach them the very same lessons that my mother taught to me 🙂
What do you do to keep your family culture or traditions going?