‘Tis a grand thing. Top ‘o the morning, Erin go bragh! La brea ata ann! (That means it’s a lovely day in gaelic!)
I am celebrating with Mr. Dewars, though Mr. Guinness would be a better companion perhaps. The fed-x man just delivered the news. I am now an Irish citizen!!!!
It took over a year and a half of digging through the archives, trips to the Massachusetts Geneological Center, and a trip to the old sod with my sweet cousin Kathy – but the deed is done. I now have my my citizen certificate and I am now a citizen of Ireland through foreign birth, a daughter of the gaelic isle. Tra la and Tipperary!!!
I tip a sip to my parents, Vivian and Michael and to my grandparents on my Dad’s side – John T. and the infamous Mary Kate Archer of Jenkinstown, Kilkenny, Ireland who was the one of them all who counted the most. My generation can still apply for citizenship through a grandparent and for me it was Mary Kate.
Let me tell you a bit about this remarkable woman. She lived a simple life, arriving in this country at the age of 17—an entrepreneur, selling beauty products and looking for new opportunities. But the streets were not paved with gold as she had been led to belive and she became a housekeeper for the wealthy of New York City. She traveled to Harwichport on Cape Cod as maid to a wealthy family who were vacationing at the elegant Belmont Hotel. It was there that she met her future husband, John T., a handyman and sometime driver of hansom cabs. They fell in love, went back to Brooklyn and married. The very next day they moved to the Boston area where John T. had a permanent job as an iron worker. (He was one of the men who created the great iron clock on the Custom’s House Tower, downtown Boston.) Within a year their first child was born and by 1916 there were four children. It was not an easy life for Kate. They were never rich and she was not always healthy. But her strong Irish backbone and her Catholic upbringing gave her a way to see things through. In the winter of 1927, she collapsed on her way home from church. It was snowing and there were few people on the streets. When she didn’t return home, one of her sons finally went looking for her and found her lying on the sidewalk, covered in snow. She never fully recovered, dying that summer.
I never knew her and we only have a couple of pictures, but I think I would have liked her, and she certainly would have liked me! I’m sure of it.
Anyway, here’s to the Erin in my go bra! And three cheers to the ancestors who made it all possible. Yahoooooeeee!