I don’t meet Irish people very often. In fact, only twice I met the Irish en masse. And the second time was two days ago. I am still recovering. Goodness, aren’t they the easiest lot to party with?
I went to my friend’s house with the most innocent intentions of a quiet evening in, catch up on the gossip, perhaps a glass of bubbly or two. That was before her neighbour knocked on the door and invited us to his 50th birthday party.
So we entered what was very apparently a family birthday bash. The relatives had been descending on the house since the morning, travelling from London, the US and of course from Ireland. The Irish accent varied from slightly Irish with a strong American influence (the second generation from America) to the broadest Irish (which I had absolutely no chance understanding). I realised after a few hours that a woman who was (clearly!) pointed out to me as Sheila was actually called Jeanette. That’s before I finished my second glass of bubbly.
There were four brothers, two sisters, wives, husbands, fiancées and countless sons and daughters. And the two of us. And I can honestly say that I didn’t feel like a gatecrasher for one second. Even when I was discussing my random presence with the brother from Chicago. And even when after coming back ‘home’ we refilled our glasses and actually returned to the party through the connecting garden gate.
I don’t need to point out that the night was long and hilarious. We got invitations from a few people to visit of course and later I managed to get into a couple of family photographs.
I would love to be a fly on the wall when in a few years they look at the pictures and wonder who that unknown woman is.