Me: "Ha, yep..." *face gets red and wants to die*
That's a typical stranger encounter for me, but despite the fact that comments like that make me want to either A) punch a hole in a wall, or B) evaporate into thin air, I'm still very proud to sport a mop of red curly hair and have a bit of Irish blood running through my veins.
While Irish isn't the extent of my ancestry (I've got Polish, Norwegian, German, and a little Scottish and French ancestry as well) I thought it fitting to write about my Irish heritage because I've decided to study abroad next spring in Galway, which is actually near where my ancestors are from.
My Irish ancestry comes from both my mom and my dad's side of the family. My dad just recently informed me about how his Scottish ancestor Lord Something-or-Other married an Irish woman named Lady Lydia Auroria Moore, so there's that (my parents then went off on a tangent of how they should've named me Lydia), however, I'm much more familiar with my maternal grandmother's story. Most of the Irish blood comes from her side anyway. It was her great-great-great (one more great? two more greats? I can't really remember) grandfather, Dillon O'Brien, who immigrated to the Midwest (more specifically, Madeline Island on Lake Superior), and ta-da! Here I am. Thank you, Irish ancestors, for choosing America over starvation.
As far as my decision to study in Galway goes, I didn't choose Ireland SPECIFICALLY because I have Irish ancestry. I've actually just always wanted to go to Ireland. No rhyme or reason really, I just WANT to. I've started planning and looking at applications, and despite the fact that my bank account is going to completely dissipate, it'll be SO worth it.
When in Galway, I'll be a part of NUIG's International Student program and I'll be staying in an International Student house ten minutes off campus. Since I'm doing this next spring, I still have some time to go through the application process, but it's just nice to be decided on a program.
If you've stayed with me this far, you are a trooper and I appreciate you. Let me know in the comments if you've ever been to Ireland (or Galway specifically) and where you think I should go. Or if you've ever studied abroad, where have you gone and what did you think? I'd love to hear from you!