June 15, 2012
Mom always refused to admit we were Irish, though the evidence was pretty overwhelming. Our names, for example: she was a Cruise before she married a Dempsey, or an Ó Diomasaigh (pronunciation: Oh! DEMMA!-shay) as my father sometimes corrected her. His father was Paddy—single-handedly cut the Manchester ship canal, apparently. Had 14 kids. Got a medal from the Pope for services to the poor (though he WAS the poor). Mom disagreed with none of this, except the bit about Paddy being Irish. “Nope,” she said, “Ballinasloe, County Galway? Rubbish.