It’s been a few years since I’ve written a St. Patrick’s Day post. As has been my custom, I’ll explain that despite my Swiss-German surname, I’m between a quarter and three-eighths Irish, entirely from my mother’s side. I honestly don’t know for sure—I haven’t been able to track the Blanchards back to Europe. My maternal grandfather Blanchard claimed to be Irish but my intuition is the Blanchards were French but that his mother and Blanchard grandmother were both Irish so he identified as Irish.
The Irish surnames in my family that I know about are Flanagan (Westmeath), McCoy (probably Armagh), Dunn (?), and Rogan (or, possibly, Grogan—I don’t know where in Ireland they were from, either).
My wife’s more than a quarter Irish. Not sure how much more. Her maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Russell and her parents were born in Ireland. Her paternal grandmother’s name was McCormick. I’ve traced the McCormicks back to Ireland in the 17th century. I strongly suspect they were Scots-Irish Protestants.
What if I tell one of my wife’s favorite Irish jokes this year? Bridget and Mary were chatting with some of their friends. When Bridget told the group that her husband had just died, they were all suitably sympathetic. “And what did he die of?”, one of them asked. Bridget responded, “He died of the gonorrhea.” When the others had left, Mary, surprised, asked Bridget “And why were you sayin’ that Sean died of the gonorrhea when you know he died of the diarrhea?” To which Bridget responded, “I’d rather he be remembered as a bit of a sporting man than for the sh*t that he was.”
Previous St. Patrick’s Day posts: