Thursday, March 17, 2011

Not a Blarney Stone, or Shamrock Unturned.

Being the good ole Irish-American girl that I am, and now having a wee one of me own, I feel obliged to share a little about past experiences.  In reference to my previous blatherings about how I wish to tell a story, and to pass on a definitive "something" that Aksel can take pride in, an anecdote of our ancestral homeland...

Besides, what better day than this very one?  Em, it is Saint Patrick's Day.  Hullo?! 

First of all, I love to travel!  When I was eligible at eighteen, I applied for a passport.  And, with my blue book in hand, I was off and running, actively seeking to behold the wonders of this wide world. 

As a side note, I've barely left my home, since the age of twelve, without a spiral-bound book, a black felt-tip pen, or two, and liquid paper.  So, in traveling, not only was it crucial that I SEE the world, but it was, for me, a requirement that I also write about it.  It was my personal goal to form knowledgeable, first-hand opinions about differing cultures.  Twas my objective, if ye will, to question people, and myself for that matter, thoroughly and often.  I sought to listen as graciously as I knew how, which I might mention at the time, was not saying very much. 

Basically speaking, I didn't want to leave a Blarney Stone, or a shamROCK unturned!

So, when it came time to navigate my travels, it was totally necessary I visit Ireland.  It was for me, a Mulligan, a sort of sacred journey, my very own rite of Irish passage. 

I attempt now, with my honest-born gift of gab, and my slew of dusty journals to recount my most special Celtic memory.

Proudly Irish, I'll always be a Mulligan!

I was twenty-one when I first visited Ireland.  A junior in college, and not a smidge scared, I packed my bag and left for the green isle.  On my flight's descent into Dublin, I felt overcome with emotion.  Staring out my tiny window, I felt strangely prepared.  Like I was there to solve some familial mystery, and I'd studied my evidence the night before.  I had, in fact, just received a lengthy email from my father, tracing our genealogical roots, which had been cleverly prepared by my priest-for-a-cousin, Kenny (aka. Abbott Matthew Leavy).  There were countless cousins, aunts, and uncles, who were born in such & such county, and had X amount of children, with silly names like Cornelius... it went on and on.  Albeit, I came to Ireland out of curiosity, with just a sliver-of-a-plight to answer questions for myself, about my past.

Growing up in a small southern town, with a tangled mass of dark curls, and an unforgiving name like Gillian Eleanor Mulligan, I didn't exactly blend in!   I was tormented actually, and felt inferior for a great part of my childhood.  For quite some time, I resented my heritage.  Not because I wasn't proud to be of Irish descent per se, but because I was so physically different looking than my classmates.  People always asked what ethnicity I belonged to, and oftentimes it embarrassed me!  So, I came to see what the people of Ireland were like.  To observe how they looked, and to compare how I was or was not similar.  Did I, in fact, look like an Irish woman?

Well, I got my answer!  It came from a very wise man, seated at a very old bar, nursing a very large Guinness, in a very dark pub.

His name was Michael Jordan.  The place was Mulligans on Poolbeg Street.  The story goes something like this...

My first logical stop in Dublin was Mulligan's Pub, and I couldn't think of, or justify, a more fitting place to start!  I walked for a long, long time, down endless side streets, staring hopelessly at my pocket map to find Poolbeg Street.  After quite some time however, I arrived at my destination, weary and starved!

I opened the heavy door, peered in with curious eyes, and rolled my suitcase over the threshold to enter the establishment.  Upon doing so, the pub seemed to let out a startled gasp (for air). 

Moldy, stagnant, dark, and dank are just a few pleasant adjectives that come to mind.  Did I say awesome, too?



(pitchy in tone)
Hello.  Do you serve lunch?

The two male patrons and barman, startled by the glare of the opening door, look up to observe the unusual visitor.

No, Miss.

I'm Gillian Mulligan... and I'm here... at Mulligan's in Dublin, Ireland!

Smiling broadly, she settles in, and jumps on a barstool.

I'd like a half-pint of Guinness with a dash of black currant, please.  Could I also have a packet of Walker's crisps?  I'm famished!

Talking aloud, but not to anyone in particular, she exclaims!

  I have to drink Guinness, even if I don't like it!  It would be blasphemous, to be a Mulligan, at Mulligan's in Ireland, and not drink one.  For the merit of this experience, I must!

Silent moments pass.  The elderly gentleman to her left, pushes his newspaper aside, takes a long look at the girl, and speaks.

(with an unphased air)
Well, ya don't really look very Irish, Miss Mulligan. 

Lifting his nearly empty pint glass to his mouth, he swallows the remaining dark stout.

Em, but then again, ya don't really look like you're not Irish either.


I love this memory of Ireland!  I hope my wee little leprechaun makes the trek one day...

This entry is in honor of my Great-Uncle John, who sadly passed away last night.  Although we saw each other infrequently, I will miss him greatly!  An inspiring, motivated man, he loved to travel too...

A present from the barman at Mulligan's Pub on Poolbeg Street:

One of my FAVORITE things!

A Half-Pint and Guinness!  (Staged, of course!)

The River Liffey at Dusk.


  1. It's so fun to read about your history. Love the pics. I'm following from Bloggy Moms...hope you can stop by and follow back!

  2. I'm a new follower from bloggy moms as well. That is soo cool u got to go to Ireland. I hope to go some day. However before I'll be able to have my Guinness I'll have to do a shot of Jameson's (that's my maiden name) lol


Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts. I love 'em all!

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