You May be Irish if…

Irish pub

The Top Ten Ways to tell if you’re Irish:

1. You have the ‘gift of gab’. There is an ancient rock near Cork, Ireland at Blarney Castle and they say that anyone who kisses the stone will have the gift of gab. If you are truly of Irish descent, then there’s likely no pressing need to make the journey, as you surely already possess the talent of talking rings around most other people.

2. You are musical. Maybe you play an instrument or perhaps you just sing in the shower, but the gift of music is in your Irish blood and you will not be able to resist tapping your toe or strumming your fingers on the table when someone gets their fiddle out and plays a tune.

3. You have strong convictions. Whether the topic is religion, politics or your favourite sports team there will be no point in challenging your beliefs which you hold dearly, and you will argue about these beliefs passionately and convincingly.

4. You have a gift for writing and story-telling. You will be the one at the pub or social gathering that will keep the crowd entertained with your vivid and colourful tales. There may even be a bit of exaggeration thrown in for good measure, but it just makes your story all the more interesting.

5. You’ve got lovely skin and pleasing features. You may have porcelain, pale skin, or you may have freckles that outnumber the days of the year, but your features will be pleasantly proportioned and your eyes bright, with a genuine smile that lights up your face.

6. Your dinner is not complete without some spuds at the table. Whether it’s home-fries for breakfast, French fries for lunch, or baked, mashed or boiled for supper, the humble potato is a regular, healthy staple in your diet and you wouldn’t think of going a day without it.

7. You will likely have a few Irish names in your family tree because people of Irish descent are proud of their heritage and often pass down the names of their ancestors: Sean, Shane, Annie, Maggie, Michael, Patrick, Francis, Kelly, Bridget, Daniel, Aiden, Liam, Eileen, Irene, Brian, Barry, Collin, Ryan, Katie, Thomas, Matthew, Molly, William, Robert, Mark, Elizabeth, Peter, Sinead, Eva, Fay, Julia and so on…

8. You are better at swearing than most people. Partly because of your natural gift of gab and partly because of your quick wit, the swear-words seem to roll freely off of your tongue. You have even been known to make up your own, or stick a word in the middle for good measure, like “abso-bleedin’-lutely”.

9. Nothing brings out your poetic nature, natural ability to talk non-stop, or your talent for swearing like a few pints at the pub. A drink or two or three tends to make your exaggerations a bit more colourful, your storytelling even more fascinating, and your talent for music and dancing shines even brighter.

10. You are loyal. Your strong convictions and unshakable beliefs are the most visible when it comes to your family and friends. If someone insults your friend then they’ve likely got a fight on their hands that they won’t win. If someone says something unkind about your family then they will have a nasty surprise coming to them that they didn’t bargain for. You are fiercely loyal to all you hold dear.

So, what are the Irish really like? Perhaps the best description comes from the popular historian, Carl Wittke:

“The so-called Irish temperament is a mixture of flaming ego, hot temper, stubbornness, great personal charm and warmth, and a wit that shines through adversity. An irrepressible buoyancy, a vivacious spirit, a kindliness and tolerance for the common frailties of man and a feeling that ‘it is time enough to bid the devil good morning when you meet him’ are character traits which North Americans have associated with their Irish neighbors for more than a century.”

Whether you are of Irish descent or merely admire this nation known for its great writers, poets and story-tellers, I will leave you with a traditional Irish blessing and hope that you have the ‘luck o’ the Irish’ wherever life takes you! Sláinte (cheers!)

An Old Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

book cover edited resized LC Comfort (1)

Arlene Stafford-Wilson

(My ancestor, Tobias Stafford, left County Wexford, Ireland, in 1816, aboard the ship, Maria, and settled in Drummond Township, Lanark County. He married Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ McGarry, of Mullingar Parish, County Westmeath, Ireland at St. John’s Church, Perth, Ontario, on Feb. 10, 1824)

14 comments on “You May be Irish if…

  1. betty says:

    This is me up one side and down the other oh so busted lol thanks.

  2. Joanne says:

    I’m related to the Stafford family. I actually have pictures of Patricia Stafford, daughter of M.T. Stafford and Margaret Ann Gillies. Patricia was a great influence in my life, and was always such a joy to spend time with when my brothers and I were youngsters.

    Pat was also a great influence, and part of our Father Stewart’s young life. She’s gone but not forgotten. She was our 1st cousin, but we always called her “Auntie Pat”. I still have the savings bank tin that she, and our Great Grannie would make sure was filled with coins when we went to visit.

    Auntie Pat always had a ton of games for us to play when we went to visit, books to read and stories to tell. I recall she often spoke to us, and used sign language. I believe she taught the deaf and perhaps it was something she just became used to doing.

    Very fond memories of this dear woman!

    • Hello Joanne – Nice to hear from a member of the Stafford family. Your branch would be descendants of Tobias Stafford Jr. and Ann Ryan who moved from Drummond Township to Renfrew in the early days. Tobias Jr. was one of the twelve first generation children born to Tobias Stafford from Wexford, Ireland and Elizabeth McGarry from Mullingar Parish, County Westmeath, Ireland. My branch are the descendants of Thomas, youngest of the twelve children and brother to your Tobias Jr. Thank-you for sharing your story and memories of Patricia Stafford!

  3. Joanne says:

    Thanks for your reply Arlene – I do have your Thomas and Mary C. on the family tree. Although I believe Tobias Stafford Jr. was married to Elizabeth Ryan and not Ann. Please correct me if I’m wrong and we can compare notes.

    I show Tobias Stafford Sr. married to Elizabeth McGarry, and their parents were Tobias Stafford/Bridget Waters; and John McGarry/Bridget Tone.

    Auntie Pat, as well as another cousin of theirs, Rosemary McCormick were very close to my McKay family; Edith Elizabeth Gillies/James Daniel McKay. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend some time with Rosemary in March 2013, in Toronto, just a few months prior to her passing in June and share some of the family history with her. A task she always spoke of wanting to accomplish, but never got around to with her busy life. My dad Stewart McKay always told me if I ever went back to Toronto I had to go and visit with Rosemary, as they spoke often, and corresponded regularly, and he was always very concerned with her well being. Rosemary certainly planted a lot of seeds along the way in order for me to obtain some of the information on the family. Rosemary passed away at the ripe old age of 98 just last year. I also have a copy of a wonderful picture she painted, not to mention a ton of cards and letters that my parents kept from her.

    Rosemary was the daughter of John James McCormick and Mary Ellen “Rie” Gillies. After Graduating from the University of Toronto, Rosemary was employed as a Librarian at Osgood Hall Law School until her retirement in 1985, she never married. I also have a wonderful picture of Rosemary’s Mother Rie, and have a ton of letters, cards and some pictures of Rosemary. There was never a Christmas, or Easter holiday without a word from Dear Rosemary. Rosemary was a very intelligent woman, and read the newspaper daily until her death.

    My McKay branch is from Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, Ireland.


    • Hello Joanne – Yes, I also have that in my notes (far better than off the top of my head) that Tobias Jr. was married to Elizabeth Ryan, daughter of Anthony Ryan and Elizabeth Cavanagh, married in January 1860 at St. John’s church in Perth, Ontario. I have a wonderful photo of Tobias Jr., Elizabeth Ryan with my g-grandfather Thomas Stafford and Mary Carroll. If you would like, I can scan the photo and email you. My email is

  4. Chris says:

    Wow, talk about describing me to a ‘T’ … I only recently did a DNA test and discovered the largest percentage of my being is Irish. My Grandfather told me I was more Irish than anything when I was a boy, but with a Dutch name and German and French in my immediate family lineage I never really thought it was that prominent. Learning that it is in fact true, and reading the above, it all makes sense. Proud to be Irish!

    • Dear Ms. Stafford Wilson,

      Let me introduce myself — my name is Patrick Schmidt and editor-in-chief of the SIETAR (Society of Intercultural Education, Training and Research) Europa Journal. As SIETAR Europa will be holding a congress in Dublin, Ireland in May 2017, we are doing a few articles on Irish history, culture and its people. I came upon your wonderful short article ‘You May Be Irish If…’ and would like to republish it our journal. May I have your permission?

      If you wish to have further information about SIETAR Europa, please click here: For the journal, click here:

      Looking forward to hearing from you.

      Sincerely yours,

      Patrick Schmidt

  5. Allan McNamee says:

    Allan McNamee of Perth, ont. is related to the Staffords ; his mother was Carmel Stafford, her father was Peter Stafford, lived in Fergusons Falls, ont

    • Hello – Yes – and there is more information on the history of the McNamee family in my book – “Lanark County Classics”. Peter Stafford was my father’s uncle, and they all lived around Ferguson Falls. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Kristine Kirk says:

    Hello Ms. Stafford Wilson,

    I am a 3rd generation Irish-American. We are so very proud of our Irish heritage. Today, at the end of my career, I work in underserved communities to help HS students and young adults develop the skill to gain and retain career employment. One of our core values is for an individual to understand, develop, and use the personality and temperament that they were “born with.” Then, of course, add the credentials and further develop your other natural and cultured skills/interests into career employment.

    Even though I have a pretty good grasp on “The Irish” and why we behave the way we do. I’ve never found such a perfect description of “our people.” We Irish are hard to explain. Yet we don’t understand why people think we are complicated. I guess it is the fact that we are cultured to succeed but no brag about it. So our cultured humbleness only goes so far until our temperament kicks in and we factually and frankly explain to the person that they are full of blarney and their shenanigan’s won’t work here. And then, of course, we Irish become very confused as to why the bloke wont sit down for a pint and discuss the issue. Heck, we’ve evolved from fist fighting at family debates, and folk still don’t get The Irish culture.

    I emailed this to myself and plan to use it as added content to our “Using Your Personality to Grow Your Career” class. We will, of course, highlight your work. In fact, we will be taking students directly to your website to review it during class as long as the link to this information is live.

    I understand myself better too. Thank you so very much!

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