Is it Irish or American?

Imagine my disappointment in finding out that corned beef and cabbage is not Irish, it’s an American tradition. That’s what started me on a search of the customs of the old country. The following video about “Irish People Trying Stereotypical Irish Foods” suggests it’s Irish, but I’m telling you: corned beef and cabbage is as American as can be!

I’m an American of Irish descent. I’ve always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a dinner of corned beef and cabbage. I still do. But corned beef is not common on the old sod (except maybe around Cork and Dublin). The closest thing they have to it is called boiling bacon (cured pork loin). It is cooked much the same way. They don’t boil potatoes with the bacon and cabbage. They usually boil them in a separate pot.

What is their traditional food? That is one of the many traditions and customs I want to find out. I’m proud of my roots! I grew up in Upstate New York. Irish pride runs strong here. There is a neighborhood in Syracuse, New York called Tipperary Hill. Pride is so strong in Tipperary Hill that on one traffic light the green light is on top. Its been like that since 1924. The only light like it in the U.S. The story goes that city workers don’t bother trying to change the greenback to the bottom anymore. When they do, it “mysteriously” changes back to green on top by morning. It must be leprechauns.

That’s the story my mother told when I was young.

The real story is that back in the 1920’s when the traffic light was first installed, the Tipp Hill lads didn’t like the idea of the “British red” being over “Erin’s green”. They would smash out the red light by throwing stones at it. The city decided in order to save money on constant repairs they would change the order of the lights. That’s how the “green on top” traffic light came into being.

It all starts off when you are born. You need a name. You’ll find an interesting page on baby names and their meanings here. Irish names are great for baby girls or boys. You can even give your dog or cat an Irish name! Be honest, who wouldn’t like their Wolfhound be named Ryan or their Irish Terrier be named Duffy, right? Irish family names often have such a colorful and rich history and you may very well use your Irish family name to proudly proclaim your Irish heritage.

Also, to keep out the chill you need to wear traditional clothing. A traditional wedding is the perfect way to get married. At the wedding, there should be an Irish dance or two. The dance should be accompanied by traditional music. In a next post, I’ll be telling you a bit more about traditional Irish weddings and traditional Irish music.

In a few months, when this year comes to an end, see if any of their Christmas customs are followed at your house. Before you go forward you should know your past. Celtic history, mythology, and ancient art are a good place to explore the past. The old proverb, Giorraíonn beirt bóthar (Two shorten the road) sums it up best. I hope you’ll follow me on my journey to find the old traditions.

For now, I’ll be enjoying a bit of nice early-autumn Irish weather, not too bad actually, though you’ll know that in Ireland, the weather is probably the most-spoken-of topics so there’s a sunny day…Enjoy it and I will! If you want to visit Ireland, check out this post about the “Ten Stages of a Sunny Day” here in Ireland. It may help you to decide on the best time to come to Ireland.