How Do We Continue To Be Irish and How Do We Pass This On To The Next Generation: Bernadette Murphy

Being Irish is complex. We just want to be understood but it is difficult to explain that we are much more than the picture we show to the world. As the saying goes “If you want to know me, come and live with me!”

There is a grittiness to us that could well be attributed to our past, our history and our journey on this earth so far.We are survivors. No matter how we feel inside we have a tendency to get up, dress up and show up with a twinkle in our bluey eyes telling everyone” I’m grand, I’m fine”, and give a hundred percent to the task in hand.

To continue to be Irish we must maintain our outgoing friendly personalities. A wave of the hand, smiling eyes, a general hint that nothing is too much trouble, being laid back with time for everybody and be good at small talk over a good strong cup of tea. We love the weather and start and end every conversation with a general comment about it. The rain and getting “soaked to the skin” can be described in so many ways only by the Irish.

Being Irish means being highly educated with an opinion on everything. We are deep thinkers and have contributed as much and maybe more to the international literary world than any other nation. We are never boring and love “a bit of devilment”. We have a great sense of fun, laugh easily at our own “shortcomings” and are constantly in search of “the craic”.

Each of us has a rebellious streak inside which may hint that we live in the shadow of our past. While not a nation of complainers we are always ready to count our blessings and accept “our lot”.

The Irish have good manners instilled in us at avery young age and this gives us a an overall sense of decency.

The Irish are all about family and the extended family. Knowing our cousins even those twice removed. We like to take care of our own. Irish mothers and their words of wisdom are legend. We must never speak ill of our mothers and to speak ill of the dead is a mortal sin regardless of how much we bad mouthed them when they were alive.

To continue to be Irish we must be passionate about our sport. Hurling and gaelic football and to a lesser extent soccer and rugby. The county and club jersey is a must have and a requirement to be worn for forty eight hours at least most week-ends from May to September

To be Irish you must have a precarious relationship with alcohol. The “few scoops” being a necessity to celebrate all events from the cradle to the grave regardless of whether you know your consumption limits or not or the effects it can have on you, your health and the wider community.

Passing on this sense of Irishness starts in the Irish home. The next generation must be given an understanding of how their world as they know it took shape.The pictures on the walls, the photographs on the dresser, the example set by Granny, grandad, mother and father. The National schools, the teaching of our Gaelic language and our history at home and abroad. The availabilty of records and information in our libraries. The writing of books and the making of films. Having monuments and buildings named after key people.

The next generation must not just be bystanders they must be participants in order to understand and be proud of their heritage.


My name is Bernadette Murphy and I live in Clogherboy, Tuam, Co. Galway. I am a mature lady who has been writing for a very long time. I have had over fifty short stories published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. I’ve had a few poems published and have written three books (romance genre!). I facilitate a writers’ group (Blackberry Writers’) in Ballymoe Co. Galway although I was born in Roscommon, lived in London for 16 years and am now settled in Tuam. I’m the mother of 21 year old college going twins, one of whom is training to be a History and Religion teacher in Dublin.

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