Erin go Bragh

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Tell me again why the the feast of saint is celebrated so widely. It’s the green beer, isn’t it?

Legend has it that in the early Middle Ages, a British teen was captured by Irish pirates, later escaped captivity, and then returned to Ireland to spread Christianity. Quickly, the pagan society was transformed into a god-fearing people. I wonder who today will be so revered in the future?

I’m 25% Irish, though my name would suggest 100% heritage. Over the last century, 80-85% of the births have been male on both sides of the family. Thus, when they found our they were expecting, my parents deliberated over their soon-to-be son’s name. You can imagine their surprise when the doctor announced, “It’s a girl!”

My last name is very Irish. My middle name is a family name tracing back to precolonial England. But my first name was an unknown until my grandmother said, “How about Erin?” No one else had any other ideas, so it stuck.

Growing up, I had a little paper placard on a cork board in my room next to laser beam Jesus, who I later learn is Jesus with light and love pouring out from his heart. The name Erin was of Celtic origin, and it meant “peace.” Is that true, or do they list that for every kid’s name so the kids will believe it’s in their nature to chill out and behave? Was laser beam Jesus an intimidation tactic, or there to offer comfort?

When I give out my name, people more often than not spell it Aaron. You would think the gendered spelling–Aaron vs. Erin–would be common sense. Alas, common sense ain’t so common.

In the adult world of emails, I’m frequently a gentleman name Eric or Erik. I suppose if one has a violent twitch, the “n” might look like a “c”… maybe?

In middle school came the tacky and awkward “Erin go bra-less” jabs. It was clever the first time. After that, not so much.

As I recall, “Éirinn go Brách” translates to “Ireland until eternity”–my name is a tribute to and a pledge of allegiance to a land I’ve never seen. All because, statistically, I should have been a Matthew.

Well, anyways, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Enjoy your green beer, corned beef and cabbage, and all the other Irish atrocities. Enya gets a pass. Saoirse Ronan, too.

12 thoughts on “Erin go Bragh

  1. I didn’t know Erin meant peace. I have a lot of Irish in me, too– both sides of the family, although my legal names don’t suggest it at all. However dermatologists take one look at me and know. It’s kind of freaky. Happy St. Patrick’s Day

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We learn something new each day, right? Haha! That’s funny! My boyfriend is Italian and I’m very Irish, so our matching “winter whites” are transitioning… he’s taking on a lovely olive tone and I’m still as translucent as ever haha! Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Ally!

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