Happy Mother’s day from Ireland

Mother's day trip to Ireland

In the lead-up Mother’s day in the USA, Canada, Austrialia, New Zealand and other countries, we give you an insight into the ubiquitous Irish Mammy. Just as on our scheduled or bespoke Ireland Tours, we take a fun insight into a lighter side of Irish culture.

An Irish Mother’s Influence through the cycle of life

In infancy, the protective motherly instinct is the same as any mother in the natural world. The difference with the Irish Mammy, is that this becomes a peculiarity (especially with sons), that tends to last from cradle to grave (we deal with this in more detail later).

It’s during the post toddler to teenage years, that things take on a uniquly Irish slant. As we climbed ever higher up a tree, invariably the sharp knock on the window and the shout of “Don’t come running to me when you fall out of that tree and break your two legs” would follow. Though quite physically impossible, somehow this illogical utterance only served to enhance and reinforce the safety message. Falling foul of school teachers, might warrant a visit to the school from said matriarch. That was always guaranteed to bring double punishment – that doled out by the school, followed by sentencing from mother – and there never seemed to any mitigating circumstances taken into consideration either!

The legendary Irish Wooden Spoon

Happy Mothers Day Irish Mother Irish Mammy and the wooden spoon
The level of mischief of Irish kids, was directly in proportion to their mothers prowess with the wooden spoon

Ahh, the wooden spoon – we used to think it part of a mother’s anatomy. As the tooth fairy took away the last of our baby teeth from under the pillow in the middle of the night, were they also changing the shape of Mammy’s strong hand? So that, as our second set of teeth broke through young gums, the fingers of Irish Mammies’ morphed into the shape of a wooden spoon. And for some years after, if that hand wasn’t in a mixing bowl or sink, it was generally aimed in a low arc at our collective arses. Yet somehow, like a bad golf swing, it would always lose momentum just before the point of contact. It’s also why Irish kids were so good at Irish dancing – a nimble fleetness of foot developed as we pirouetted out of reach of the not so deadly arc.

In Ireland, one reaches the age of adulthood at eighteen – deemed as mature enough to vote, to (legally) drink and to (technically) be kicked out of the house. There’s a natural link to the last two, and the first time one arrives home ‘tired and emotional’ inevitably leads to a next day lecture, concluding with: “If you want to stay in this house you’d better move out”. Again, the pure absurdity of the statement simply lends credence to the threat.

In truth, the imbibment of alcohol by Irish kids of a certain generation (e.g., Baby Boomers and Generation X) usually started before they could talk. Mammy’s Mammy’s (aka Granny) old style cure of rubbing whiskey or brandy on aching teething gums being handed down through generations of Irish women.

Irish cure-alls and preventions

Those old stlye ‘Mammy cures’ extended to most every ailment and injury – Warm or flat ‘7up’ (Sprite) cured all tummy ills. And a cold dessert or soup spoon would be pressed to any bump on the head that wasn’t bleeding – though it was probably the pressure applied rather than any coldness that caused the lump to recede.
Then there was the daily school prep ritual – Mammy licking her fingers to smooth your ‘cow’s lick’ or clear a smudge from the face – depsite your scowls of protest. The ubiquitous daily dose of cod-liver oil in winter had also to be endured. No point in trying to seal the lips – adroit finger and thumb always managed to prise open any attempt at locking the jaws shut.

Irish Mothers and their Sons

As he gets into adulthood, there’s no such thing as an Irish lad being forced out of the nest by Mammy. Sometimes, they leave of their own volition – including to play their role in creating a future generation of Irish Mammies. And there’s many an Irishwoman can relate the challenges faced in weaning their husbands or partners away from the matriarch.

In fact, it can sometimes take many years of repeating ‘I’m not your mother’ before the realisation dawns on the incaltricant son – come life partner – that the ‘socks and jocks’ discarded nightly on the bedroom floor, don’t actually disappear and re-appear washed and dried. Of course, the Irish Mammy will always consider said son’s choice of life partner, not near good enough for her precious offspring.

So, if you’re celebrating this weekend, Happy Mother’s Day to all – from the Antipodes to America, . We hope you’re spoiled rotten and can associate with our tongue in cheek quick peek at the Irish Mammy. We’ll tell you lots more about them on our fun and informative Ireland Tours

For some more fun Irish ‘Mammyisms’ why not check out this video from Irish comedian and author Colm O’Regan

ps – no wooden spoons were hurt during the writing of this blog!

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