Happy Sean Patrick’s Day!


I get incredibly excited for St. Patrick’s Day because of my Irish background. Even though I am technically a half-breed—half Irish, half Italian—that didn’t stop my parents from giving me the most Irish name this side of the Emerald Isle: Sean Patrick Doherty.

And I have all the handsome features that make Irish people some of the most attractive in the world. Can you sense the sarcasm yet? From my milk-white complexion and inability to tan, to my gigantic hips and broad shoulders, to my small stubby fingers and lack of height, it’s easy to picture my Irish ancestors basking in the cloud-covered motherland while building stone walls and pushing out babies.

Now I know what you’re thinking: Wait? I thought you loved St. Patrick’s Day and being Irish? I do!!  I wouldn’t change my Irish heritage for all the gold in Blarney Castle.

I remember the first time I went to Ireland in 1998, an eager American teenager looking forward to meeting his long talked about Irish cousins. I remember the excitement of getting on a red eye flight to Dublin with my sister, father and my grandfather. I was so excited I didn’t sleep the entire way. Turns out, that was a big mistake. We landed in Dublin at 6 a.m. and immediately started touring. What’s worse than being overtired and being dragged around on a bus for 10 hours while you wait to check in to your hotel? Doing it in the rain. This was the middle of the summer mind you and what I quickly learned over the next few years was it didn’t matter when you decided you wanted to make a pilgrimage to Ireland, your forecast it is going to be the same. It is going to rain.

After taking a bus—and when I say bus I don’t mean luxury coach I mean a city bus—several hours down to Waterford, we went to Kinsale, Cork, and the Ring of Kerry. Then it was up to Galway where my family was from. All of Ireland is amazing in different ways but there is something magical about the West Coast.

We met my family and it was an incredibly awkward encounter. Like a scene out of “The Parent Trap,” my sister and I met our “long lost cousins” who were about our age. We were left to entertain ourselves while the adults went to drink and when I tell you we literally had no idea what they were saying, we had NO idea what they were saying. Ireland is full of brogues and dialects and add to that the general teenage slang and all we did was sit there drinking some weird concentrated sugar beverage while they asked us about baseball, New York City, doughnuts, and the show “Law & Order.” I have no idea why, but this is how we spent the next eight hours.

Since that initial first encounter I can honestly say that these cousins have become an amazing part of my family. Thanks to social media and my frequent flier miles we are able to see each other at least once a year. This was my grandfather’s whole reason for bringing us over. He knew that our family separated when some of them moved to America and he wanted to make sure that not only did we embrace our Irish roots but that we made the effort to continue building the strong family our ancestors started years ago.

So on March 17, I don’t think about binge drinking or wearing shamrock-shaped glasses—though I do both, don’t get me wrong—but I think about the family I have thousands of miles away and the thought of how fortunate I am to be Irish.

So whether you are 100% Irish or Irish for the day:

Slainte go saol agat,
Bean ar do mhian agat.
Leanbh gach blian agat,
is solas na bhflaitheas tareis antsail seo agat.

“Health for life to you,
A wife of your choice to you,
Land without rent to you,
A child every year to you,
And the light of heaven after this world for you.”

See what I mean? A child every year?! Who has time for that?!


About Sean Doherty

Sean Doherty is the mid-day host weekdays on 99.9 the Q.

737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
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