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The Meaning Of Being Irish

Yesterday of course was St. Patrick’s Day which is observed quite differently here than in Ireland, where it’s a public holiday  named after Saint Patrick, the best known of the patron saints of Ireland. 

Bagpiper at Houlihan's in Brick
Bagpiper at Houlihan’s in Brick (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

In the U.S. the day is associated with parties, parades and celebrations and that’s especially true at the Jersey Shore where there is a large population of those with Irish in their blood and green in their beer.   It’s also a good time to bring out one of my favorite ditties from a book written by Joseph Keefe.  The title of this is, “What Being Irish Means.”


  1. You will never play pro basketball.
  2. You swear very well.
  3. At least one of your cousins holds political office.
  4. You think you sing very well.
  5. You have no idea how to make a long story short.
  6. You are very good at playing a lot of very bad golf.
  7. Much of your food was boiled.
  8. You have never hit your head on the ceiling.
  9. You spent a good portion of your childhood kneeling.
  10. You’re strangely poetic after a few beers.  You’re therefore poetic a lot.
  11. You will be punched for no good reason a lot.  Some punches are legacies from past generations.
  12. Your sister will punch you because her brother punched her.
  13. Many of your sisters are Catherine, Elizabeth or Mary and one is Mary Catherine Elizabeth.
  14. Someone in your family is incredibly cheap.  It is more than likely you.
  15. You don’t know the words but that doesn’t stop you from signing.
  16. You can’t wait for the other guy to stop talking so you can start talking.
  17. “Irish Stew” is the euphemism for “boiled leftovers from the fridge.”
  18. You’re not nearly as funny as you think you are but what you lack in talent you make up for in frequency.
  19. There wasn’t a huge difference between your last wake and your last key party.
  20. You are, or know someone named “Murph.  If you don’t know Murph then you know Mac.  If you don’t know Murph or Mac then you know Sully.
  21. You are genetically incapable of keeping a secret.
  22. Your parents were on a first name basis with everyone in the Emergency Room.
  23. And last but not least…Being Irish means…your attention span is so short that….oh, forget it.  Hope you had a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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