The Choice

On May 25th, 2018, Ireland will have the chance to repeal the Eighth Amendment of its constitution in a referendum. This amendment was adopted in 1983 and it asserted that a fetus had the same rights as the woman who carried it. It’s no surprise that this law came into existance, since Ireland was still pretty synonymous with the Catholic faith when the Amendment was passed and while it allowed for pregnancy termination if the life of the mother was shown to be at risk, it made proving that exception more difficult. It also didn’t allow for the mental health of the mother – only the physical. The Eighth strengthened penalties for seeking an abortion both in Ireland and abroad and it ensured that community groups and organizations could not legally help women who wished to explore those options. It took decades of hard work to rectify the latter circumstances but abortion in Ireland was and is still illegal.

This is not to say that women (and girls) don’t get abortions. Recent statistics estimate that more than 150,000 Irish women have had abortions since the eighties. About a dozen have them every day – either by traveling to the U.K. where abortion is legal, by using the outlawed Plan B pill, or getting an illegal (and sometimes unsafe) abortion in Ireland itself.  These women risk a prison sentence of up to fourteen years if they are caught having an abortion on the island, but they do it anyway and that is really the only point that should matter in the upcoming referendum on whether the Eighth should be repealed or not.

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An Unrepentant Pagan

On this day inn 1946 Ireland lost a powerful voice when Ms. Hanna Sheehy Skeffington passed away.  She was one of the country’s most independent and fierce women who always fought for equal rights, for peace, and for Ireland, even when those beliefs cost her dearly. Hanna was indomitable and as she reminded her son before her death, she was an unrepentant pagan. Continue reading

They’re Coming to America

So you want to move to America? Whatever for?! Unless you are in a “third world” country, chances are your health care is better, your education is better, your work schedule is better, and people are probably kinder where you already are. Considering the weakness of our dollar, our union-busting corporations that are considered people, the current political climate, our abhorrent race and gender issues, and our militarized police force, I would encourage you to think again before coming to the “Land of the Free.” However, since a lot of people are still interested in moving here, I thought I’d go over some of the most common ways to accomplish it and throw my observations into the mix. We are hard on our immigrants—legal or not—and there are several things to consider. Here are some of them, wrapped up in the most frequent ways to get into good ol ‘Merica. Keep in mind, this isn’t even about the path to citizenship. These are just things I’ve witnessed while watching people try to obtain semi-permanent residence and entrance into our work force. Citizenship is even more difficult.
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Love, Marriage, and Immigration

A few months ago, I shared a love story.  My dear friend Jody found the man of her dreams through the magic of technology. Unfortunately for the two of them, Kevin was half a world away in Raheny on the outskirts of Dublin and Jody was here in California. Trips between the United States and Ireland can get pretty expensive relatively quickly. At some point in the future Kevin might have moved away from Raheny but he did not want to come to America at all. That was never in the plan. However, even the best laid plans change and he did end up coming here for Jody. At first, everyone on both sides of the puddle worried a bit but there was no need. Kevin is delightful and Jody has never been happier. I was thrilled for them when they got married a few months after his arrival at San Francisco City Hall and it has been my privilege to watch them grow into an amazing couple.

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The Irish Love Story

This love story turned a new page yesterday. They started as random long distance/online pen pals – he’s from Dublin, she’s from the U.S. – and 8 months later, he’s here in the United States and this just happened.

love and marriage

love and marriage

For more on their whirlwind romance and love story click here. And then raise a glass in congratulations and hope. His parents have been married for 54 years next month – hopefully these two have that same kind of luck and fortitude.

Slainte!

I do other things too…(shameless self-promotion)

One of my other passions aside from all things Irish is jewelry making. I usually make larger, more dramatic pieces but this delicate gem is inspired by the Irish wedding I am lucky enough to attend tomorrow. It’s too bad the bride said she didn’t need jewelry. Garnets and sterling silver are always such a lovely combination.

Garnet Celt

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A Love story

Today I give you a love story – one that I hope will become a fairy tale ending. When I begrudgingly came home from Ireland at the start of the year, I had a coffee date with a good friend who was enthralled with the stories I was sharing with her. She promptly went home and started researching Ireland on many sites – including a dating one that she had a profile on.

She changed her location search to Ireland and browsed a few profiles there. Within a couple of weeks, she was in constant conversation with a man from Dublin. Each stayed up all night to continue talking despite the time difference and when she flew to Dublin six months later for her first “real” date, I was thrilled for her, particularly when they hit it off even better in person. By the time she left, she had met the parents and friends, and they were planning for him to move here to the U.S.

This is where I think the story goes a little backwards, at least in my head. I want to leave the U.S. and live in Ireland, and eventually, so does she. While I was traveling there, the first question most people asked me once they learned I was an American was “Well, what the hell are you doing here?”. I understand the economy is terrible in Ireland – it is here too – but I was surprised and saddened when the people I spoke to were desperate to get out of Ireland – particularly when all I wanted to do was stay. It is thought that more Irish live outside Ireland than within it, which is a terrible statistic.

But I digress. He was to move here. When he was laid off in Ireland, he joined thousands who had been unable to find a job, and she has one here that could support them both temporarily. So despite her desire to eventually move there, he just landed here in the United States and they are off to a good, if lightning quick, start.

Here is where the tricky business of visas comes into play. He can only stay for a few months unless they get married – which is their plan – to the bewilderment, trepidation, and fascination of everyone that hears their tale. They are a love match but are still getting to know each other outside of the internet. In addition, he has to acquaint himself with a whole new country in a short amount of time, one in which he likely will be unable to work at least for a few months. They have been forced through geography and government to make drastic decisions in an incredibly short amount of time.

They’re choosing each other, consequences be damned. Whether it works out in the end or not, I have to salute their willingness to change everything for each other and try to make it work. It’s rare to find a person who matches you – especially one who will grab the hand and jump – no matter where that leads. Their story gives me a goofy grin and can only hope that it works for them…despite my belief that she’s doing it backwards.

Slainte to you both