Edith: As I hinted at yesterday, I’m half Irish on the stubborn Flaherty side, with roots in San Francisco firefighters from way, way back. I had two great uncles who were twins and didn’t speak as adults. A grandfather that refused to speak to my mother since before I was born. And so on! I’ve done my best to float loose of holding grudges, although one thing bullheadedness seemed to do for this branch of the Flaherty clan: the men keep their hair, it stays dark, and they live into their nineties.
Jessie: I have a bit of Irish on my mother’s side of my family. My great-grandmother, a Callahan, was all Irish on her father’s side and all French on her mother’s. I love corned beef and cabbage and knitting anything with cables. My grandmother’s hair stayed dark too, well into her eighties.
Liz: What can I say – I’m Italian all around! Although I’d love to be Irish! Does it count that my character in the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries is Irish, and the hot guy in town runs an Irish pub??
Barb: Yes, Liz. Absolutely it counts. I have Irish ancestry on my mother’s side. Her mother’s maiden name was Hickey and by absolute coincidence, just last weekend I was at a reunion of my Hickey cousins–my mother’s two first cousins and two of my three first cousins–some of whom I hadn’t seen in 40+ years. My Hickey great-grandfather married a Spann and everything that has come down to me from that side of the family is German–cooking, holiday traditions, the occasional epithet–all German. I have no idea how or why this happened, except to speculate that these things came more strongly down the female line.
Julie: My maternal grandfather’s family was English, but the other grandparents were at least part Irish. For me, I have four Irish traits that inform me, especially as a writer. First, I love a good, complicated story. Second, funny matters. Third, funny can also lead you to dark, soul crushing stories. Which I love. (Go see a Eugene O’Neill play.) And third, I always remember the grudge. ALL of these help me write mysteries.
Edith: And why, not, Sherry? I love these stories of ancestry and how it informs both our own characters and those we write about.
Readers: What’s your Irish connection?