Monday, March 17, 2008

Green Day

We have a family genealogy book that was printed by some distant cousin in Pennsylvania. My father’s family can be traced all the way back to Charlemagne and, apparently, Lady Godiva! There's a Mayflower ancestor and a couple of Connecticut governors, a college president, and the maker of Florida Water, a cologne that kind of reeks. Almost entirely of English stock, it was WASP Central for my dad David Trumbull Lanman.

My Viennese mother Margarete, on the other hand, was a goulash-mash from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, with an Austrian mother whose maiden name was Birnbaum (which means pear tree) and an Italian/Hungarian father named Stefan Maniero.

The closest I come to being Irish is Eva de Clare, who was a daughter to Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster, c.1100 something and a descendant of the Irish High King Niall. Almost a thousand years and lots of marriages later, maybe a millionth of a molecule on my pinkie toenail is Irish. This is irritating every St. Patrick's Day. So, no green beer, step-dancing, or cladagh rings for me. It's Austrian wine, waltzing and my Lanman family crest ring which says Fortuna Favet Audacit, or fortune favors the brave.

I'm not very brave, but I visited Ireland once. It was truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I went to Powerscourt (see picture) one afternoon to see the spectacular gardens. I was pregnant at the time, and will never forget the gatehouse keeper letting me use her bathroom while I waited for the bus back to Dublin. God bless the Irish. And their toilets.

My husband has just discovered Ballykissangel on Netflix, so we’re in store for six seasons of charm and blarney. I’m evil because I always want the Catholic priest to fall in love. I want everyone to fall in love. That's why I write romance.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Are you Irish? Have you visited the Emerald Isle? Who’s your favorite Irish hero?

Everyone is wise until he speaks.~Irish Proverb


Tiffany Clare said...

Wow on the tracing back of the family. I'm a mutt, and have many backgrounds. My father's side is Irish, but many generations Canadian... so who knows how much Irish that is, though they display the Irish temper to a tee...

My otherside is mixed... Everyone should celebrate St. Patties day... just to celebrate--who doesn't want green beer?

I've never been to Ireland, but desperately want to go. One day...

Janga said...

My father's father's family was German, but all the rest is a Scots-Irish blend. :)I forgot my shamrock from Ireland today. Maybe my gray hairs will protect me from pinches.

Savannah's St. Patrick's Day Parade is second only to NYC's, so we Georgians are usef to everybody eing Irish this day. My favorite St. Patrick's Day celebrants are my Greek friend, her German husband, and their two Chinese daughters. Only in America!

Terri Osburn said...

Another mutt here. I know my mother has lots of German in her and my father's grandparents were German and Native American Indian. Very odd combination that. The rest is a mystery.

But I love everything Irish and found the only top I have that is remotely green to wear today. It's more blue green but close enough to protect from pinches I think.

Never been to Ireland, but I will get there. It's very high on the list! That's amazing how much you know about your ancestry and I need to look into getting those DVDs from Netflix.

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Tiff and Ter, I feel like a mutt too. The sentimental Viennese side is always at war with the proper stiff-upper-lip English side. So far, I just cry into my tea and carry on.

Janga, love your description of the "We are the World" family! And I can't find my shamrock pin. I'm wearing a green sweater though.

Anonymous said...

My great great grandfather came to the US from Ireland. He told his son to be sure and put "Born in Powerscourt" on his tombstone. He said it was one of the most beautiful and impressive places he knew--and he wanted everyone who read his tombstone to be impressed. (He was actually born in County Cork. Blarney runs deep in my family. Happy St. Paddy's Day, Maggie. Today, everyone is Irish.)

Kelly Krysten said...

I would love to visit Ireland someday. And I have enough irish, I think, to drink some green I'm actually a mainly danish, spanish and native american. But my fave irish man is Colin Farrel, he's a hero right?

Elyssa Papa said...

I'm Irish with Italian and German mixed in. We don't know where we came from in Ireland but know that we came over during the potato famine... I joke that's the reason why I have food issues.

I'd love to see Ireland one day--everyone's who gone says that it's beautiful!

Hellie Sinclair said...

Not Irish. I think we might be barely Scottish (but I'm always willing to claim more kinship than I really have.) We're mostly English.

I suppose my favorite Irish hero (is she an Irish hero?) is Grace O'Malley, the pirate. The chick who gave birth while her ship was being taken over by other pirates--and when her crew came and said, "We can't do it" she got out of bed, went up, kicked everyone's ass, then came back downstairs to finish giving birth...or lying in....

I don't know. I heard that once. Whether it's true or not, still a good story. And considering men, LIKELY.

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Anon, Powerscourt was pretty impressive. I love to go to "stately homes" when we travel, although I wouldn't like to clean them!

Ely, I once went three years without eating potatoes. Three years. I finally smartened up and dumped my (Irish) boyfriend who was weight-obsessed. Pass the French fires.

Kelly, your ancestry sounds like a pretty fascinating mix of hot and cool!

Hellion, I've heard that story too.I think when you're in labor, you want to kick every guy's ass.