Photo cred - James Jordan
It is greatly accepted that Montreal is a melting pot not only for religious freedom but for all different walks of cultural life (food, music, entertainment and language).
As a proud second generation Irish Caucasian female (between the age demographic of 25-34), I’ve come across a lot of different viewpoints about what actually constitutes being a “Real” “Irish”person. Some have said it’s the ability to successfully hold down green beer without vomiting, while others feel it’s legitimately being able to explain the true meaning behind “St. Patrick’s Day” and for others it's simply having a passport stamped from a little old place called “Dublin”.
I however, in true Irish fashion, have chosen the “K.I.S.S" system to share my Top 23 rights of passage of what it means to me to be Irish and given the fact that there’s currently 161,235+ people of Irish heritage in Montreal.. I’m sure I’m not the only one who will find the humour in the examples I've listed below!
What it’s like growing up Irish in Montreal:
You know at least 5 people who own a bar & at least 1 person who’s officially been banned from all of them.
Ability to pull off a Tribal Celtic Band tattoo without being completely disowned by friends or family.
You have Carte Blanche to believe in fairy tales for the rest of your life, whether that means believing in “Leprechauns”,“ Snake Whisperers” or just plain old true love (“Claddagh Ring” where Love +Friendship Reigns against all ).
That “wooden spoons” not only serve as cooking utensils’ but as a means to reprimand young children if they decide to exercise more than their official “ Notre Dame Irish Man Fighting “ stance
At least one of your friends or family members is named Erin or O’Reilly.
You’ve learnt how to play “connect the dots” with your freckles & Bic pen to successfully outline all possible images visible on your forearm.
You have a skin palette throughout the seasons that either goes from pasty white to brightly red lobster & no brown tones in between.
You can always count on receiving “Pot of Gold" chocolates at Christmas from family, regardless of the state of the current economy.
You’ve successfully learnt how to make at least 20 different dishes using potatoes.
You understand “ Irish Spring” can literally fix anything, whether it’s a long day at work (Shower) or a quick scratch on the knee (poultice) or just a quick home made laundry detergent.
Free pass to say “Top O’ The Morning to ya” before 10am to fellow coworkers without getting a metaphorical punch to the face.
As a child with Red hair, pale skin and blue eyes you were taunted with scary tales not just of “The Boogeyman” but your genetic disposition that “Gingers have no souls “ (completely erroneous and just a nasty rumour started by some people who spent way too much time and finances trying to achieve the same unique hair look without the high cost of repeat salon hair maintenance trips!
You own an inordinate amount of green clothing that you choose to wear unapologetically throughout the year regardless if it’s March 17th.
Lucky charms are more than just a cereal, it's a superstitious way of life. Which means you must wear and or own at least one trinket(wishbones, horseshoe, shamrock, or four leaf clover) at all times if you don’t want your “Luck O’ the Irish ” pass revoked.
You have the genetic ability/disposition to drink everything & anything within a 10mile radius and still be able to fully function the next morning with a smile & a jovially life quote anecdote.
You're unable to climb Mount Royal within 3 hours without spending at least ½ the time hopefully searching for four leaf clovers along the way.
You’re obligated at birth to properly explain to everyone you meet, the proper meaning and pronunciation behind “Erin Go Bragh “ (Ireland forever ) and completely discourage it's ever so popular distant cousin “Erin Go Braless “ alternative.
Your Family is so large , that the only time you all get together is either at a birth, funeral or a wedding (and yes in Irish culture those two last ones aren't considered the same).
You also know that when you do pass , your family will put the “fun” back in “funeral” for you à la Waking Ned Devine.
You automatically have the gift of being able to end any argument or start any future relationship with the potential ice breaker of “ Kiss me I’m Irish” without getting a restraining order or a cross eyed look.
You innately know the most romantic thing you and or your significant other can do is refer to each other as “Lassie” or "Laddie" in a high exasperated Celtic pitch.
Rainbows are more than just a symbol for gay rights but a hopeful omen for a lucrative future ( pot of gold) waiting for you ahead.
You know that while this world can be a crazy place, that at least for one day EVERYONE can agree on one thing ( being "IRISH" in spirit ), we're all part of the same happy cultural family tree !