Friday, June 19, 2015

In Search of Leprechauns

In the not too distant future, Z and I will be off in search of Leprechauns.

Those mischievous Irish rascals said to sneak about in the night, out of sight, creating havoc for one and all that happen to cross their paths, unsuspecting or not.

Which, to be honest, sounds a lot like the O’Toole Brothers, down the street, who tend to sleep on their front lawn most Saturday nights, so they shouldn’t be too hard to find.

But we’ll be looking for the genuine article; the wee folk with their pots of gold stashed where the rainbows end, on the Emerald Isle itself...home of my ancestors, or half my ancestors, on my father’s side.

I mean, all my ancestors on my father’s side...but none of the ancestors on my mother’s side...who come from that would be total...or thereabouts.

Oh, wait...that doesn’t include my grandma’s maybe it is only half...or a quarter....or...

Yeah...confusing, I know.

But so is this whole ancestry thing.

Up til now, the only knowledge I had of my Irish ancestry was that my Grandpa Jim and Grandma Nellie spoke a little funny and, when they baby sat, liked to slip a bit of whiskey into my milk, just to settle me down and make sure I slept through the night.

Child Care 101, the Irish way.

But, if truth be told—or at least my version of the truth—back then, if information didn’t come to me in the form of a comic book, I didn’t much pay attention.

So, as I've mentioned before, it could be my own fault, this gap in my memorable family history.

And we Moloneys have an interesting one, which I’ve been studying up on, trying to connect the dots, which isn’t easy, because going back, even just a few generations, turns up a lot of dots, spread out all over the world.

At one point I got a little carried away, and traced us all the way back to Moses...which really made things confusing...and that was just on the American side.

In the end, I limited my search, because I figured there just weren’t enough name tags.

Bottom line is, a good portion of the current Moloney clan will be gathering in Ireland—mostly to introduce themselves to one another—and Z and I will be among tree and power point charts in hand to try and sort things out.

Which, like I said, won't be easy because apparently this Moloney clan is a wandering bunch and, nowadays, hail from the four corners of the globe, which is odd, because if I’m not mistaken—which I often am—the globe is kind of round and really doesn’t have corners.

But no matter, the Moloneys have never let a little thing like geometry or common sense stop them from telling a good story, no matter where they reside, from Australia to New Jersey.

More than 150 of us will be descending on Galway Bay, to celebrate our ancestry beginning with our common great grandfather and great grandmother Jim and Anne. Like I said, we could go back further, but the name tag thing is still an issue.
It’s kind of cool, actually, because just looking at this one photo of the great grans, there’s probably not one of the cousins who can’t relate to sitting without the nagging urge to put their elbows up on the table.

DNA...what can I say....

And this happy shot, taken years later with some of the second generation is a testament that these were indeed party folk, judging from all the carefree, happy expressions.  Of course it could have just been an especially good hair day, that induced all the smiles.

According to the list—and my calculations, which you can take with a grain of salt and a couple of pepper corns, for good measure—of the 130 or so direct descendants, who will be in attendance, 97 are the progeny of oldest son Stephen—the young man pictured in the center—whose prolificacy I attribute to the “ahead of his day”, kick ass hairdo. That and the fact he didn’t have cable to keep him otherwise occupied.

Whereas my Grampa, Jim, Stephen’s second younger brother—the one who climbed out the bedroom window, in
  his teens, to sneak off to America—only produced Uncle Jim and my Dad, Bernie, mostly because Grandma Nellie kept him locked in the basement on the nights he came home late from the local pubs. And from that mix, 17 more of us sprang, which, while not a bad showing, puts us at a decided disadvantage against the 97, especially in the three legged races.

Meanwhile, I haven’t even mentioned the offspring of Eddie, Delia and Margret some of whom I’ve met at one time or another, yet probably don’t remember me...and even if they do, they’re probably going to deny it after this.

And of the 156 attendees in total—in-laws included— only 21 of us actually still carry the Moloney name, which means, we’re the only ones saddled with constantly correcting the spelling. 

“It’s MO-loney...with an O...not an A.  No...that is the correct way to spell it...the other way is wrong.  Yes, I’m sure...believe me, I’m sure.”

But no matter what name any of us carry by way of this marriage and it Coakley, Fanthom, Davis, Shelly, Brown and a couple of dozen can rest assured, we’re all Moloneys, in our blood and in our hearts; the hearts leading us home...all the way to the end of the rainbow.

And after this summer, we’re all gonna have to upgrade our Christmas card lists big time...

With or without the leprechauns... 



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  1. Very cool Brian - and I suggest telling all the relatives they can find you and Z on Facebook, thus saving tons of postage when it comes time to mail out the Christmas cards. Before you leave, set up a Facebook Group just for the "Moloney with two "o's" and steer 'em all there. From someone who has no kin, this get-together, despite all the prep and research and analysis of the ancestry charts, sounds like a lot of fun. Hmmmm, I see another book about this grand get-together, so get some good pix including a few of those little green rascals as well.

    1. Thanks, Linda. You're forgetting we are entering the season of slacking...or more slacking....

  2. Great post Brian! Reunions are so much fun, so relax and enjoy! Have a great time seeing all the sites in Ireland and take lots of pictures. I look forward to seeing them all! :)

    1. Thank, Pami. So you're saying I should bring a camera?

  3. Now I know why you are a super story-teller. The pictures are wonderful too - thanks for sharing. My Irish relatives never drank coffee, but they always kept a kettle on the back burner for tea (tay.) I remember my greatuncle who was a priest; his niece a nun, his brother a professional gambler; several brothers owned a brewery in Boston.

    1. Thanks, Joan! The Irish are a diverse bunch...that they are.....


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