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Ireland and alcohol are my heritage

Curt Yeomans

Curt Yeomans

Even though some people might view it as politically incorrect to make jokes about the Irish and drinking, I have some biological rights to break the rules.

You see, there are many secrets that can be found in my family tree like, say, a great-great-grandfather who was allegedly an Irish Protestant-turned-Catholic. It’s no secret, though, that I have Irish blood in me. I’ve waved that banner proudly for years. The “secret” I’m referring to is a bit of family history that I haven’t boasted about too much in this space.

There are Irish bar owners in my family tree. That’s right. I said owners with an “s” at the end.

My great-grandfather, Simon, and his twin brother, Peter, were Irish immigrants who ran a saloon in New York City right before Prohibition. I’m not making this up. We have U.S. and New York Census records which back this up.

I also have cousins who have run a bar in the Irish village of Tulla for decades. I stopped in for a visit nearly five years ago. They said they don’t serve food. They only serve alcohol. Guinness is the main option, of course.

Therefore, with that kind of a heritage, I have a blood-right to make jokes about the Irish and drinking.

Why should I shy away from it when my kinsmen openly embrace it?

I will point out, however, that there is a comical Irish drinking song, called “Galway Bay,” about a rowdy wife who likes to drink “16 points of Pabst Blue Ribbon” at Pat Joe Murphy’s.

The song goes, “If the sea was beer instead of salty water, she would live and die in Galway Bay.”

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, one thing is certain: Everybody is going to get drunk. Well, everyone except the teetotalers because they never get drunk.

Honestly, if the sea really was beer instead of salt water, you’d need a lot more than Galway Bay to quench the thirst.

As someone who has barmen in his family tree, I can say I take pride in the fact that I’m related to purveyors of alcohol. If someone wants to make a joke, they can. It won’t hurt me.

You can’t offend Irish-Americans with jokes about drinking when their Irish kinsmen are the ones who make up songs to sing while they drink. I mean they even call them “drinking songs” just so everyone knows when they are supposed to sing them.

And then they put the songs on CD and sell them to tourists who come to see the Emerald Isle.

If that wasn’t enough, Dublin, Ireland also has Temple Bar. If you’ve never been there, it’s a pub district that’s like Bourbon Street on steroids. The only difference is there’s no public nudity in Temple Bar.

My memory of it is of inebriated Irishmen standing in the streets, singing traditional Irish tunes.

If that’s a legacy to be ashamed of, then let the Irish do their things all day and night. There are some things that are worth the shame.

A proud, unabashed Irish legacy — even if it reeks of Guinness — is definitely worth it.

Curt Yeomans is the senior reporter for the Clayton News Daily and an avid traveler. He can be reached at 770-478-5753, ext. 224, via Email at cyeomans@news-daily.com or on Twitter at @CYeomansCND.