4 MINUTE READ
I’m becoming Irish. To be sure, I’ll still be Scottish and British, but if I can also become Irish it means I’ll still feel European.
Ok I admit, that’s quite a lot of nationalities for just one person…but don’t go all judge-y on me. I like to have options – I’ve also got 5 pairs of very similar jeans & 3 pairs of almost identical black heels.
So, in case you missed it – Britain voted to leave the European Union and is scheduled to say….So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye sometime in 2019, which means…actually, I haven’t a clue what it means apart from I expect I won’t feel as European after 2019 as I do at the moment.
Now, don’t worry I’m going to get all shout-y and political BUT (whine-y voice) I LIKE being European.
Yes, I know that there were a lot of downsides to being part of the EU. It guzzles money and there’s a lot of waste and major problems and complicated issues and bureaucrats who pay themselves tons of euros and are prone to banning bananas that aren’t bendy enough, BUT, call me shallow and simplistic…. I LIKE having continental hams & cheese in our supermarkets, and I LIKE meeting (and making friends with) people from different countries, and I LIKE being able to travel easily throughout Europe without having wait in long queues at every border and most of all… I LIKE not having World War III.
Plus, I don’t much fancy chlorine-washed chicken.
But hey, democracy rules.
Then, a couple of months ago, I read that applications for Irish passports have shot up by 82% since the EU Referendum, with British citizens claiming nationality based on where their parents or grandparent were born.
Which got me thinking about Ol’ Gramps (my dad’s dad), who died long before I was born. Now, I was vaguely aware, through family lore, that Gramps was born near Enniskillen, but I figured that because that’s in Northern Ireland, he would have been a British citizen and therefore I wouldn’t qualify for Irish citizenship
Which just shows how much I know!
I found out, in the pub (see…going to the pub is not a waste of time) and confirmed here, that anyone with a grandparent born on the island of Ireland (including Northern Ireland) is eligible for Irish citizenship – which means Gramps could be my PASSPORT to…a PASSPORT.
But first I had to find out a bit about him. Sadly everyone on that side of the family is dead but I got hold of my dad’s birth certificate, then got on to Mr O’Google and tracked down my grandparents’ marriage certificate (which took place in Scotland). With some names & dates to go on I seached www.rootsireland.ie (which cost £9) but didn’t get any futher: They suggested I try www.irish-world.com and, without much thought or expectation of a reply, I dashed off an email, outlining the little information I had, to their Contact Us address.
Within an hour, my phone rang. Hello… a lovely lilting accent said…it’s Willie here from County Tyrone, I’ve found your grandfather. Within an hour!
As Willie told me my grandfather’s full name, his parents’ names and where and when he was born, I felt I was starring Who Do You Think You Are.
I realised that my grandfather must have died at the age of 50, which made me feel a bit teary for the man I never knew. And curious…what I really wanted to know was when and why did he come to Scotland. I expect I never will.
So anyway, the lovely Willie has offered to get me Gramps’ birth certificate, all the way from Dublin, do some more research and prepare a report on any other family connections he can find (I’m hoping there are some serious millionaires in the clan) – all for the princely sum of £35.
By this point, Willie was my new BFF and I was hoping we were related.
So while I am waiting on news from the Old Country, I’m practicing my Oirish accent and that really fast dancing (it’s not going well) and trying to develop a liking for Guinness. I’ll keep you updated on progress….wish me the luck of the Irish.
For a much more thorough, and sensible approach to tracing your Irish ancestors, check out THIS cracking resource.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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