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Storm Emma – I Needed You

I woke up this morning to the great thaw after Storm Emma – and I was sad.

I was sad to see the green grass and black road -sad to think we needed to put on real clothes and venture back out into the world.

Then realised This Irish Girl will be 8 in just over six months time.  EIGHT.

I mean obviously- I’ve known it all along, but as I watched the snow melt away the passing of time hit me like a ton of bricks.

I guess the constant family time of the past four days have made me realise time is slipping away. When are we ever going to get time like this past weekend again? Quite possibly never again in their childhood.

Thanks to Storm Emma we – like most families in Ireland were given an impromptu 3-4 days of complete togetherness.

I feel so incredibly lucky that we had it. That we were one of the lucky families who could be together and with no one needing to go to work.

We were pretty much house bound for four days. Not only were we thrust  together but it was unexpected and last minute so I didn’t have time to plan or orgnaise any ‘projects’ or ‘jobs’ for us to do around the house.  It was just four days of pure laziness and togetherness.

Our days were filled with snowball fights, winter walks, cake, snowmen, hot chocolate, frozen fingers and movies by the fire.

Sure it was annoying at times.

More than once I wanted to be able to sit on the couch without anyone touching me! Then there was the whole layering up and taking off as we ventured in and out multiple times per day! But despite all that it was a uniquely special time.


At some point with cabin fever setting in I made a conscious decision to shout less and laugh more with the kids.

Even when the snow melted today and we ventured off our road, I found myself longing to get home for one more lazy afternoon of board games and movies.

I’m not one of those people who was wishing for the snow to melt.

I was happy living in our bubble of togetherness.  It was like Christmas only less commercial and way less stress.Fours days without school, work, activities and everything else on our to-do list.  There was no running out doing jobs – there was barely even house work.

Now that togetherness is coming to an end and we are facing into reality tomorrow. I don’t think I realised it but maybe we needed these four days.

Maybe I needed them.

I’ve been so caught up in everything lately.

It seems to be hitting me again how fast these precious years are flying by.

So thank you Storm Emma for forcing us me to press pause. Thank you for reminding me of the strength I gain from togetherness and laughter.

If you could swing by again next year I won’t object.



To the Faithful Departed – thank you Dolores O’Riordan

I’ve never fully grasped the loss that some experience when an icon passes.

Prince, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse – they are all legends without doubt, and I appreciate and enjoy their music. I’ve just never quite sensed loss on a personal level when an artist passes.

Until now.

When I heard the sad unexpected news of Dolores O’Riordan’s passing my word seemed to shift a little. I was instantly transported back to the 90’s – flooded with memories and nostalgia.

The Cranberries were the first concert I somehow convinced my parents to allow my 16 year old self to go to. I’ve seen them in every city I ever lived in. Belting out every word and hanging around stage doors after.

High school, college, grad school….. even as young expecting mother I’ve loved every moment of watching the Cranberries perform live.

I was a fan from the very beginning.

 Zombie made the conflict in Northern Ireland something tangible for my generation of American teens. No longer was it only something our parents followed on the evening news – it was real when we heard it over the radio waves.

War Child and Sarajevo further opened my eyes to what was happening in the world.

There isn’t a single Cranberries song that doesn’t resonate and evoke memories.

I found strength and triumphed over bad relationships listening to Daffoidl’s Lament.

Dreams quickly became an anthem of my ambition to one day live in Ireland. It was played on our wedding day and continues to be my favourite song.

In 2010 I embraced motherhood listening to You & Me and Animal Instinct.

Tomorrow reminds me to embrace this life while I can because tomorrow can be too late.

It is music that anchors us to memories and to the people we share those memories with.

In knowing there will be no more new music to help create such special memories – therein lies my strong sense of loss.

For all the memories, and all you’ve gotten me through, thank you.

Rest in Peace Dolores.


Lottie Dolls Review: Meet Finn & Lottie

A while back Lottie Dolls very kindly sent ThisIrishGirl and ThisIrishBoy two dolls.  If you haven’t heard about Lottie Dolls by now you should totally check them out online.  Lottie is an Irish company that values the true innocence of childhood.  They recognise that in today’s world kids need a chance to be kids more than ever and for as long as they can.  Kids need to be allowed the safety and freedom to be themselves and explore their wildest dreams.

Lottie dolls and accessories often come from inspiration from real life kids!  And they are built like real life kids with the proportions of a 9 year old (take that Barbie!)! There is no makeup or high heels or other accessories that aren’t for kids.  Lottie dolls are kid dolls for kids!

What’s not to love about an Irish business with great values right?!?

‘yeah yeah that’s all great but what did the kids think?!?!?’



Lottie’s new digs

ThisIrishGirl received the School Days Lottie.  I have to be honest and saythis was an easy sell.  She’s into dolls and I wasn’t surprised Lottie fit right in (move over Barbie!).

Lottie is a great size for the doll house she bought second hand and has been upcycling with ThisIrishDad.

I was totally into the leadership cards that came with Lottie. These cards featured leadership tips made for girls.  While I loved the cards I can’t say if ThisIrishGirl really cared about them…because they got lost fairly quikly…along with Lottie’s glasses.  The glasses were hit nonetheless since ThisIrishGirl wears them too.

There are plenty of outfits, accessories, and more Lottie dolls and I suspect some of them may feature on a certain list soon! (we hope Santa has connections inside Lottie)


Finn DollThisIrishBoy received Kite Flyer Finn and it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. For weeks previous he had been in search of a ‘human’ for his play with dinosaurs and superheroes.  We had been to the toy store in search of the perfect human but none of the action figures fit the bill.

Enter Finn – a boy doll that stands on his own and looks 100% like a ‘human’ boy.

Finn is the perfect boy to act out all of ThisIrishBoy’s wildest imaginative scenarios. ThisIrishGirl has been playing imaginatively with dolls for well over a year now, but it wasn’t until Finn arrived that we began to see the true scope of ThisIrishBoy’s imagination.

Lottie has since introduced another boy doll, Junior Reporter Sammi.  I hope they continue to expand this range and allow Irish boys to Finn Dollexperience imaginative play beyond action figures and super heroes.

Overall both kids are enjoying their dolls and the conscientious parent in me is 100% behind the vision that all children should be allowed to be themselves.

Disclaimer  The kids received two Lottie dolls in exchange of a review. No fees were paid for this review.  All opinions are genuine and my own.  









My Story Pt. 3 – Corkonian by Blood

This post is part 3 of 3 in the series of My Story.

October 2010 Mom and Dad came over to meet ThisIrishGirl after her arrival that September.  They stayed for almost a month.  What we didn’t realise then (but possibly subconsciously suspected) was that Mom was starting to get sick.  That visit she was rattled with back pain and couldn’t walk far.  We were lucky to have three more years to make memories with her.

Between feeds and extended bouts of crying from a newborn suffering with silent reflux  I got to chat with Mom and Dad about any stories of Ireland they could possibly remember- all the stories I wished I had asked my grandparents.

Before Mom and Dad left Cork we went for one last family meal in the city with ThisIrishDad’s family.  We ended up parking that day along Pope’s Quay at the bottom of Shandon Street.

What none of us knew then was that we were metres away from where my mother’s grandfather had last lived before immigrating to America.

To this day I have a deep  regret that Mom didn’t get to wander Shandon Street knowing her grandfather had roamed those very footpaths.  Mom never saw where he lived.

The 1901 Irish Census shows Daniel Looney and his siblings lived at 54 Shandon Street.

1901 Census - 54 Shandon Street

1901 Census – 54 Shandon Street

The Looney siblings lived with their Uncle John and Aunt Julia after their parents Denis and Catherine Looney had passed away.  John Looney is listed as a shopkeeper.  In the 1911 census John Looney and his family resided in House 17 in Fair Hill.

Daniel Looney immigrated to America in 1905.

He boarded the Oceanic from Queenstown (Cobh, Co Cork) and sailed across the Atlantic to his sister (Margaret) Maggie who had gone before him.   If you visit the Titanic Experience today in Cobh you walk in the footsteps of those immigrants.

Pier in Cobh

Original pier Daniel Looney would have walked to board the Oceanic

Daniel became a taxi driver for his brother’s company in NYC.  He married Marie O’Brien who died giving birth to my grandmother, Millie.  Daniel and Millie shared an apartment in Washington Heights, Manhattan with Daniel’s sister Maggie and her husband Con Leahy.

Maggie was the mother figure in my grandmother’s life and my own mother was named after her.

Grandpa Daniel Looney passed away in 1969.  Mom always said she remembers her Grandpa as a proud Irish American who loved his country.

There was little talk of why he left Cork and the family that remains there. Many questions remain for me.

But here I am in 2017 living in Cork.

When I began my story in Part 1 I set out to justify how an American can run a blog titled ThisIrishFamily.

And while I don’t need to justify a thing, it turns out I am actually Corkonian – a few generations removed – returned home and raising This Irish Family.


Read more:

My Story Pt. 1

My Story Pt. 2


My Story Pt. 2- An Olympian in the Family

This post is part 2 of 3 in the series of My Story.

Here’s a fact about me…I am an Olympic junkie and love the everything about the games. Remember the London Olympics in 2012?! Ireland had Katie Taylor that year and with the games so close I was hooked more than ever.

Sitting at home watching the 2012 Olympics there was an RTE commentator discussing the overall total of Olympic medals Ireland had ever received.  I couldn’t resist bragging to ThisIrishDad that Mom’s great uncle, Con won at least one of those Olympic medals.

He doubted me and so began my search to prove it.

Through the power of Google I had answers within minutes. Not only did Con Leahy in fact win olympic medals, he had his own Wikipedia page! Con had won silver and gold olympic medals in the 1906 olympics which are unfortunately not recognized by the IOC.

photo credit: Wikipedia

Con was both an impressive athlete, and a true Irishman.

He protested the listing of Irish athletes as members of team Great Britain during the 1906 Olympics.  During a medal ceremony, Con supported an Irish teammate who climbed the flag pole to take down the British Flag and replace it with the Irish one flag.

Sadly,  in 2012 I discovered that I had missed the 2006 commemoration ceremony of a monument to Con in Limerick.

While I relished in the bragging rights of an Olympian in the family to ThisIrishDad, the truth is, Con Leahy was only mom’s great uncle through marriage.

But finding information on Con proved to be the first breadcrumbs to finding my own Corkonian roots.

Read more: 

My Story Pt. 1   

My Story Pt. 3


My Story Pt. 1 – Just Your Average Irish-Italian-American


This post is part 1 of 3 in the series of My Story.

Anyone who has been following along (or actually read the about page) knows by now that I am American.  Born and raised in Upstate NY with short college stints in Pennsylvania and the Washington, DC Metro area.  I moved to Cork in late 2014.

Now I’m sure there are plenty of nay sayers who are thinking how can an American write a blog called This Irish Family.  You’re welcome to think what you want, but if you want to know my story here goes….

Growing up in America everyone is some sort of ‘American.’  It’s the melting pot of our history of  a nation built on immigrants.  (Ironic isn’t it given today’s American political climate?)

Anyway, I grew up one of the lucky ones who is Irish American AND Italian American.  If you’ve ever been to Syracuse, NY you know the city’s history if steeped in Irish and Italian American culture.

In case you’re really curious I am  pretty much 50/50 with a little Welch and maybe some Scottish mixed in.   Just your average Irish-Italian American – not uncommon in Upstate NY.

Mom & Dad bringing their Irish and Italian heritages together for us.

As a kid I wasn’t too sure where the Irish ended and the Italian began. For the most part though being Irish-Italian meant never eating store bought tomato sauce and attending family dinners every Sunday.

Unfortunately for me all my grandparents had passed away before I outgrew my indignant/not-giving-a-shit teenage years and grew into my twenties where part of ‘finding myself’ raised a curiosity into discovering my roots.

Of course this interest in my roots became more about my obsession with moving to Ireland and less about doing any real research into my actual family tree.  I knew the most basic facts – my mother’s Irish family came through Ellis Island and stayed in Manhattan and Dad’s came through Canada somehow landing in Upstate NY.

So fast forward to Halloween 2004 which after a LENGTHY immigration process involving work Visas etc I landed in Cork and began to realise how much Irish culture had been passed down to me in America

  • Grandma and Mom always put butter AND jam on toast…much to the dismay of a lot of my friends.
  • I remember being given 7-Up at any sign of a stomach ache.
  • Guests (particularly my friends) couldn’t leave the house without Mom feeding them.
  • We prayed to St. Anthony…..
  • …..and lit candles in church

And over the past 13 years more and more things from my past made since to me after moving to Cork.

Little did I know in 2004 coming to Cork was actually coming home.

Read more:

My Story Pt. 2


Why I let my 6 year old Wear Makeup

Each time we disregard our children’s thoughts or opinions it teaches them that what they think and how they feel isn’t valid.

We were getting ready for a family event recently when ThisIrishGirl  (age 6) came into our room and said “Can I wear makeup today?”  I think ThisIrishDad might have paled a little (I certainly might have)…..lets face it 20 years later I still haven’t mastered eye-liner, but here she was wanting makeup, my little girl.

I turned to her and said “why don’t you go pick some out and bring it to me

I know what you are thinking….

Your 6 year old has makeup?  (Mostly castoffs from ThisIrishSister) 

You’re going to let her wear it outside the house?  

Yup. I am. 

We struggle every day to raise the kids in a way that teaches them to learn to make their own right choices and to show kindness to others always.

In today’s world- where we so often see signs of females voices & opinions being quieted we want ThisIrishGirl to grow up knowing her voice WILL be heard- her choice and opinion IS of value- her interests ARE important.

So here she was standing in our bedroom showing us her interest.

She’s like most kids –  if we had said no to her she may have balked for a minute and gotten over it.   But if we say no how many times will she come to us to share here interests and opinions before learning they might not matter?

Each time we disregard our children’s thoughts or opinions it teaches them that what they think and how they feel isn’t valid.  

What if ThisIrishGirl walked out of our room on that day having felt like that?   Next time would she come to us with her really important interests?  All over some silly lipgloss?  Would I even risk that?  Hell no.

She’s going to grow up knowing it’s ok to have a mind of her own and to be HEARD.

She’s going to grow up knowing that whatever she’s interested in- as long as it isn’t illegal, or harmful is totally 100% O.K.

That means all of it…even the interests and idea that don’t sit perfectly with us…will be 100% O.K.

And then I got to wondering why it didn’t sit perfectly with me….the makeup….

Is it because somewhere in society beauty & makeup are considered to objectify women or are inferior interests then say sport or science?

Do I think that?

Absolutely NOT.

I am lucky enough to know so many independent, strong, successful women who happen to like beauty & makeup.  Many of these women not only are strong individuals but they  do such amazing things for other women and in support of other women.  Isn’t that exactly how I want ThisIrishGirl to grow up to be?


I don’t care if she’s a dancer, a doctor, a teacher, or beautician (because she wants to be them all).  Whatever she becomes I want her to do it with friendship, leadership & character and safe in the knowledge that her voice WILL be heard.

ThisIrishGirl came bouncing back into our bedroom with a few shades of eye shadow and lipgloss, and since she is 6 and I still am her parent we set some boundaries (same as we do with what TV she can watch, books she can read etc) and went with a pale pink eye shadow and translucent lip gloss.

Each time we disregard our children’s thoughts or opinions it teaches them that what they think and how they feel isn’t valid.


Host a Pyjama Birthday Party for Kids

Hosting a pyjama birthday party

Last weekend ThisIrishGirl turned 6.  SIX.  Six is a big age.  She seemed to grow up over the summer and seeing that gives me all those emotional mommy feelings of pride and sadness at the same time.  Anyway,  6 is a big age and she had ideas for a big celebration!

Several months ago she decided on a pyjama birthday party at home and once her mind was made up there was no changing it. Pyjama birthday party it was.  Thanks to the power of Pinterest,  and one of my besties from back home party ideas were flowing.

Ok – this was a pyjama party so everyone would come in their pyjamas!  (Which meant I of course had to add  new PJs for the kids to the party supply shopping list).

Every party starts with an invitation and I found these editable free invites from they have plenty of invites that you can down load and print for free.

pyjama birthday party invite

Invite template from

Party activities were easy to come up with – there are tons you can do around a pajama theme.  ThisIrishGirl isn’t a movie lover (how is she my daughter I don’t know)  so popcorn and movies were out – but lets be honest this crowd probably wasn’t going to sit still anyway.  There were still plenty of activities  to chose from though!  ThisIrishGirl had the ultimate say in how her pyjama birthday party would go

1)  ThisIrishGirls Nail Bar/Tattoo Parlour

We recruited some older kids  (and the unfortunate moms who stuck around for the party were put to work) doing manicures and tattoos.  This is was such a hit we had to limit the number of colours on nails to 2 +1 glitter and the number of tattoos to 3!


Always the dancer ThisIrishGirl insisted on the sitting room being converted into a DISCO so we hooked up the disco lights and streamed KidzBop.   I need to give a shout out to KidzBop.  If you don’t know the KidzBop albums they make all the popular radio songs a bit more kid friendly and are song by kids. My kids could listen to KidzBop morning, noon and night.

3) DIY Pillowcases

In lieu of party bags each kid was able to decorate their own pillow case to take home with them.  We provided pillow cases, fabric markers/paints and stencils- the kids provided their own creativity and imagination.    Tip:  This is such an easy craft idea for a party!!  Fabric markers were easy to use and clean up!  Don’t forget to place pieces of cardboard inside the pillowcase to keep the paint/markers from bleeding through to the other side.

DIY pillow case

ThisIrishGirls’s very own pillowcase

4)  Food

Of course parties are also about food.  We ordered a pizza tray, chips and sausages from SuperValu and it really was excellent value. They delivered it during the party so the kids were able to eat it hot and ThisIrishDad and I were free to be playing/supervising and not stuck in the kitchen cooking!  We also ordered the birthday cake from SuperValu- I know there are moms out there that make amazing cakes- I just won’t ever be one of them!!

5)  General Mayhem

While structured play is good at any party kids love just running amok and making their own fun!!!! They were a great group of kids who made their own fun together.

We had a HUGE guest list and are lucky to have had enough space  (& helpers) to accommodate everyone.  We opted for a Cárta party  which asks that while no gifts are necessary €5 in a card is sufficient if parents/children are so inclined. A Cárta Party takes the pressure off of everyone.  Busy, cash strapped parents don’t need to make a shopping trip and equally we didn’t feel inundated with presents at the end of the party.   ThisIrishGirl had plenty of presents to open from close friends and family and she’s thrilled with the promise of a shopping trip to spend her cash next weekend.  A Cárta party might not be for everyone but it worked great for us this year!

family pyjamas

Relaxing with our feet up after a successful party

So with a very successful pyjama birthday party behind us we’re already looking forward to an Autumn filled with apples, pumpkins, Halloween & Thanksgiving in this house.


Book of the Week: Peepo!

Book of the Week reading together

Reading together is big in this house. I don’t need to tell you all the reasons why reading is important because you already know that.  In our Book of The Week Series we share the books we are reading and our family favourites in case you need some reading inspiration in your house. 


***This post contains affiliate links for  That means if you purchase any book through link provided I get a small percentage.  It doesn’t mean they have asked me to recommend any specific books, the books I mention are all ones we know and love in our house.  It doesn’t matter where you get your books just get them!!!  BUT… does offer FREE shipping to just about everywhere..who doesn’t love FREE?!?

Remember when I told you books are our go-to baby gift?  I kinda stole the idea from a colleague at work after she gifted us a copy of her own children’s favourite storybook when This Irish Girl was born.

That book was Peepo! By Allan & Janet Ahlberg – and it instantly became a true family favourite.

Originally published in the late ’70s the book cover boldly states it is ‘the BEST book every published for babies.’  It actually just might be.

I had never heard of Peepo!  before receiving it as a gift-  and I have since shipped it to just about every new baby I can think of in the U.S.   Time and time again friends have told me how much joy the book has brought to their family.

This Irish Family- Book of the Week - Peepo!

Set in the 1940s, Peepo! takes the perspective of a  baby going about his day and taking notice of things around him.  The rhyme and repetition carries throughout the book making it an easy and fun read for both parents and children.   Each page has a ‘peep-hole’ cut into it showing small piece of what’s on the next page.

The Dad in the story gradually gets into a military uniform throughout the day and an adult reader will infer he’s headed off to the War.  The book ends with the baby being put to bed ‘fast asleep and dreaming.’ Throughout the book there is a warm since of family togetherness that I love.

Peepo!  is a beautiful picture book.  Each page is filled with detailed pictures of life in wartime England.  These illiustruations  combined with some old school vernacular (I.e. pushchair) make for some great discussions as young children grow.  Every second page also has a ‘peep-hole’ cut out of it where the baby peeks through and readers can see what’s coming on the next page.  This is a big hit with younger readers along with the rhymes and tone of the book.

Overall,  Peepo! is a quick read at bedtime that allows for children to grow as readers.  Young children will benefit from the rhyme & repetition,  the pictures lend to discussion with growing children about the world around them and how things have changed since wartime England, and early readers will learn to recognise the repetitive words on each page!

Peepo! is a classic story that belongs on bookshelf in every house!

What books do you think should be included in our BOTW series?  Leave a comment below and let me know! We’re always looking for new books to read in this house!

**  Since January 2016 joining all city and public libraries in Cork are FREE!  You really have no excuse not to check out some new books!


The Wet Brush Pro

we love this brush

Well it’s pretty clear by now I am not a beauty blogger.  But I did love just about all the beauty products I received at the recent Clogger Bloggers Event in the Clarion last week!  I wasn’t the only one who loved all the treats, This Irish Girl loves makeup and jewellery already so naturally she had to have a nose through the goody bag too.

But really when I brought home a bag that suspiciously looked like a party bag and it was bursting with goodies both kids were all over it!

While This Irish Girl doesn’t need BB cream or face masks just yet she actually squeeled when she spotted the leopard print Wet Brush Pro!

Unfortunately for This Irish Girl genetics gave her my poker straight fine hair, and as a result it is CONSTANTLY needing brushing and ‘re-doing.’  Which we both dislike.

Since she was actually showing an interest in a hair brush I had already conceded it was hers.  I figured the leopard print was the attraction and this  surely this was just another hair brush.  I was so wrong.


The Wet Pro Brush


I have no idea how it works but the Wet Brush Pro just glides through her hair!!  Wet, dry, tangled…trailed through yogurt you name it and the Wet Brush Pro just glides right through!!  No lie.  It just takes all the tangles away! We’ve been using the brush for over a week now and not once has their been any tears or screams of ‘ouch.’  Neither of us dreads doing her hair before school in the morning.

In fact she loves it so much she has decided she wants to do her own hair now.!! Not only brushing her hair but we’re now trying to self style ponytails.  (it’s a work in progress)

She absolutely loves  her new Leopard Print Wet Brush and so do I.  Since I have an irrational (although I would totally say rational) fear of head lice I don’t share any head products with ANYONE, even my own kids.  So, I only got the chance to try the Wet Brush Pro once but it was enough to make me want to head out to Boots and get one as soon as I get a chance.


Disclosure:  This is not an ad although I did receive the Wet Brush Pro for free in my awesome Cloggers Bloggers event goody bag I am just a mom sharing what I think is a pretty cool brush with all the other mom’s out there who might have little girls who hate getting their hair brushed.