Last year, a poll showed that 52% of Irish people call their fathers “Dad”, 8% of people call him “Daddy” and 11% of us call him “Da”. I don’t want to know what the other 29% of people call their father. I fall into the 11%, and call mine “Da”. I don’t know if he likes this, but he has been a father for the last 24 years, so I suppose he is used to it.
The same survey put Barack Obama as the world’s most inspirational dad. I want to nominate a contender to that throne – my dad. The Bould Bill.
Most Irish Daddies are easy going. They like the easy life – which is very rare when you live with The Irish Mammy. They don’t say much, and when they do, it doesn’t last very long. Anything an Irish Daddy has to say is worth saying. About two years ago, we celebrated my Da’s 50th birthday in his favourite restaurant surround by his family and friends. My Ma got him a trip to New Zealand to see his brother – something he had wanted all his life. His response to this all expenses holiday to the other side of the world? “That’s grand”. Irish Daddy Fact: Irish Daddies do not “do” surprise.
It is a common misconception that Irish Daddies do not show emotion. They do show plenty of emotion. They show it at sporting games and when DIY goes wrong. It is very rare to see an Irish Daddy cry. In my 24 years, I have only known him to cry twice, and I’ve only seen him cry once. My Ma was in labour with me for 18 hours (I was also three weeks late! If you know me, you know I like to make an entrance). When I was born, my Ma’s body went to shock because she had been in labour so long. They gave me to my Da. He looked down, and started crying. He looked to Ma (I’m sure you can imagine what state she was in), and said “How did my mother have ten of us?!” If she didn’t divorce him then, she never will. Irish Daddy Fact: Irish Daddies can show compassion.
Holidays are an Irish Daddy’s time to shine. This is when the short shorts and luminous t-shirts come out. The foreign holiday is a chance for the Irish Daddy to sit back, relax and let it all hang out. Not Bill. Bill sees the foreign holiday as a opportunity to adventure and explore. In Lanzarote in 2007, we went on a tour up to the peak of a volcano in a bus. The road was windy, and at one point I didn’t know if we would make it back alive. The bus was full of Japanese tourists with state of the art digital cameras, with lenses the length of skipping ropes. At the summit, they all raced to the windows to capture the stunning views on their hi-tech cameras. My Da, not one to be left behind, raced to the window to get some snaps. His camera? A 24 hour Kodak disposable camera with the paper casing. Irish Daddy Fact: Irish Daddies do not “do” technology.
So how did my Da become this amazing man? His father. My Pops. Pops is farmer from Co. Wexford, where he lives with my Granny. Over the years, they have had ten children, countless animals and many a story to tell. I spent a lot of my youth on the farm, helping (or hindering) my Pops as he went about his daily business. There are two things which my Pops likes in life: whiskey and a laugh. A Pops’ measure of whiskey would be deemed illegal in many countries, and if drank in one go, could have the same effect as a horse tranquilliser. So that’s drink covered, what about a laugh? On a farm, I’m sure you can imagine that there is plenty of electric fences about the place to keep the animals enclosed. Walking down the lane one day, Pops put his hand on shoulder. I thought this was going to be a lovely grandfather-grandson moment where he would teach me about life. I was wrong. With one hand on my shoulder, he put his other hand on the electric fence, and gave me an awful electric shock. I still haven’t recovered. Irish Daddy Fact: Irish Daddies love a good laugh.
They are our refuge from the Irish Mammy, our enemy at times, and also our best friend. Irish Daddies teach us what we need to know about life – sometimes without even meaning to. So drink up, show compassion, don’t care what other people think and have a laugh – this is what I have learned from my Irish Daddies.