My grandmother was born in the city of Ballintubber in County Roscommon Ireland. I grew up listening to stories about her life in Ireland and what it was like when she first arrived in Philadelphia …
My grandmother was born in the city of Ballintubber in County Roscommon Ireland. I grew up listening to stories about her life in Ireland and what it was like when she first arrived in Philadelphia at the age of 13, her adventures as a maid for a wealthy family and how she met my grandfather (the chauffeur of a neighboring family). Gammy was a natural born storyteller. I wish I had recordings of her stories. But we didn’t have smart phones when I was growing up (gasp).
I’ve tried to write down her stories. But no matter how hard I try; they are never as funny and wonderful as I remember. So instead, I read books by Irish authors, or set in Ireland, or about Ireland. Or I listen to audio books read by someone with an Irish accent.
St Patrick’s Day is coming soon. Since everyone is Irish on St Patrick’s Day, it’s time to get your Irish on. A great place to start is your local library, or your library’s website, to borrow or download something with an Irish connection to read or listen to.
Let me give you a few recommendations. Tana French was born in Vermont but is a long-time resident of Dublin. Some of the books in her Dublin Murder Squad series are too dark for me. But I enjoyed listening to Faithful Place narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds. It was an interesting mystery, and the narrator had a wonderful lilt to his voice. Declan Hughes is another popular modern Irish author who has written a series of crime novels featuring Irish American detective Ed Loy. Frank McCourt, Maeve Binchy, and Patrick Taylor are also well-liked Irish authors.
You can also borrow music CDs from the library and listen to some of your favorite Irish music. Did I mention Gammy played the accordion? Or if you prefer to plan a trip to Ireland, the library is a great place to start. Borrow as many guidebooks as you like. Then go on-line and learn to speak Irish with Rosetta Stone, immersive language learning software, available on-line for free through your library’s website.
‘Tis a blessing to be Irish, especially if you have a library card.
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