An Irish Lass

By the time I knew her, she was no longer a young woman but she had the skin of a porcelain doll.

Her eyes were the most expressive I’ve ever seen. She could actually smile with those eyes!

Her name was Elizabeth and I was her granddaughter.

She taught me to sew, and to know my way around the kitchen. She told mesmerizing stories and loved to entertain my siblings and me with silly songs she made up on the spot.

Whenever I reach for lipstick – I think of her and grin. You see, she had a very specific method of putting it on, which was endearing and comical – all at the same time. She would painstakingly apply a bright rose shade to her lips, taking great care to have it perfectly even. Then, just at the moment I’d be sighing in admiration of her talent, she’d grab a Kleenex and blot her lips, not just a little, but so briskly that when she was finished – you could hardly tell she was wearing lipstick at all!

I was lucky enough to have her in my life until I was in my twenties. She’s been gone for decades now, but it doesn’t seem that long. To this day, I miss her – but the memories are sweet and vivid still . . .

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

You might also enjoy my previous St. Patrick’s Day posts:

Her Irish Eyes Were Smiling (with Irish Bread Recipe)

‘Tis a Great Day



‘Tis a Great Day


For this St. Patrick’s Day, I thought you might like to see a picture of an Irish family – mine, actually! 😉


My sweet grandmother was born and raised in Ireland. In the photo, “Nana” is the little Minnie Mouse you see to the left of the toddler. The woman in the center of the back row is my great-grandmother, the mother of this brood. One of her children was not yet born.

But back to Nana! She arrived in America in 1922, at the age of 21. She married; raised three children; and was a very cherished grandmother to many more – including me.

While I was growing up, she told the most enthralling tales of her life on a farm on the wildly beautiful Beara Peninsula, which is located on the western coast of Ireland.

Click on the photos to enlarge them.


Many years after she died, I had the opportunity to go to Ireland and visit the actual home where she grew up. I walked the paths and the streets that she once walked; I lit a candle in the church where she had prayed; and I sat by the harbor she used to look out upon. It was magical and I felt her with me the whole time.


Back View of the Farm House

Nana was the 7th of 12 children – 6 boys and 6 girls! They slept upstairs, with all of the girls in one bed, and all of the boys in the other. I remember being astonished to hear that when I was a child. After seeing the house, in person, I marveled that 14 people ever lived in it! Nana’s mother made most of their clothes, tended a large garden of vegetables and flowers, and had homemade bread with freshly churned butter waiting for her kids every day after school. They were poor . . . but also “rich”. 🙂


View from the side of the farmhouse

The photo below is the view down the path and across the road from Nana’s house. She surely walked it many times to go into the little neighboring town. Talk about gorgeous. The mountains have a purple cast. Daphne Du Maurier’s “Hungry Hill” is set in this area.


There’s something I like to do to remember “Nana” around St. Patrick’s Day. Click the title below to read about it:

Her Irish Eyes Were Smiling


stpatricks2Here’s a little Irish blessing for you….

May those you love bring love back to you,
and may all the wishes you wish come true!