Growing up Irish

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As a true Canadian I can’t pinpoint my heritage back to a singular nationality. I’m an amalgamation of many: Irish, Ukrainian, and German. Yet being born to a third generation Canadian on my Ukrainian/German mom’s side saw few traditions carried on to my childhood; besides the necessary perogies and borscht that I love so much. Yet as a first generation Canadian on my dad’s Irish side, the traditions, heritage, and strong love of all things Irish were very present during my childhood.

Growing up in the Greater Toronto Area sees your typical hockey families, soccer mom’s, t-ball tournaments, etc. It’s not that these weren’t offered to me, yet as a young child the first ‘organized’ activity I remember being signed up for was competitive Celtic Dance. As an extremely uncoordinated 6 year-old I remember skipping my way around that stage, with a beautiful outfit and curls in my hair, trying so hard to look like the Riverdance ladies (the VHS of which was common family get-together entertainment). Within a year, in my very tom-boy way, I took a fit when dance practice interfered with soccer practice. Soccer won, but I still wish I had stuck with my Irish dance.

The traditions didn’t stop there. With a name like Coleen, the Irish is engrained. I guess it’s not unusual to me since I grew up with these little traditions (like the constant wearing of a Claddagh ring, having black and white pudding for Sunday breakfasts) Many people find them a little….different. Corey still politely attempts to stomach the black pudding.

But nothing makes me happier than travelling to Ireland, embracing my Irish routes, and being extremely proud of my heritage. I’m proud to be Irish, and I’m looking forward to enjoying a Guinness tonight and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!!

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