Irish American Memories
Growing up on a farm near Cashel, Co. Tipperary in the 80s was kinda boring. At least that is what we thought. We lived for the summers, the chance of a fine day, Sunday drives, walks on the beech but the main thing we hoped for was tourists.
Every summer we would see the Americans walk around the town with a cool swagger. We could spot them a mile away, they wore cream slacks (which they called pants), they wore baseball hats and sun glasses (no-one in Ireland ever wore sun glasses in the 80s unless they were famous.) The Yanks were cool, their accents - drawn out with swagger, their wallets expensive and full.
“Do you guys sell French fries?” they would ask us. Not know what they were talking about we would ask “haaah?” If we were in a mischievous mode we would say random thing to each other like; “Is maith liom milseáin.” They would take out their cameras and say to their friends “oh look, the little Irish girls are speaking gaaailgic. Can we snap you?” We would only be too happy to oblige.
A new hobby emerged for us kids....we would go to the Rock of Cashel and watch The Yanks. Over time we learnt:
French fries meant chips,
Crisps meant Taytos,
Soda meant fizzy drinks,
Pants meant trousers,
Sneakers meant runners,
Candy meant sweets,
Football was their version of rugby, (a softer and easier version!)
Baseball was a serious spot there,
And most importantly they all wanted to be Irish while we all wanted to be American.
Of course our absolute favourite pastime was telling them stories of Irish glore, or I – being my father’s daughters, would recite the first verse of “The Double Vision of Michael Roberts by W. B. Yeats.
“ON the grey rock of Cashel the mind's eye
Has called up the cold spirits that are born
When the old moon is vanished from the sky
And the new still hides her horn.
Under blank eyes and fingers never still
The particular is pounded till it is man.
When had I my own will?
O not since life began.
Constrained, arraigned, baffled, bent and unbent
By these wire-jointed jaws and limbs of wood,
After this part I would get confused and would then turn to my friends and start to talk in Irish, which of course, would result in The Yanks melting.
Here I am all these years later, reading the memories of an American gal and now sharing my memories on her blog. It seems that despite the different; countries, clothes and slang we all have one thing in common...to dream and to work our best to make ‘em a reality.
Michelle Moloney King grew up on a farm in Co. Tipperary. Her lullabies were tails about banshees and fairy forts from her banjo playing poetic father. His last words to her were; “you won’t remember me, your too young,” started her penning down his stories and thus began her creative writing. She has a Bachelor of Science in IT with University of Limerick and recently completed a Post Grad in Primary School Teaching with Hibernia College.
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Thursday, August 18, 2011
Irish American Memories