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Digging up some Irish Roots


Then he suggested we walk to a local pub that his brother once owned. Inside, he bought a round of beers and we continued the discussion.

“Americans think they have no history, but they do,” he said. “Why most of the buildings in Boston are older than the ones in Ireland.”

A fellow sitting next to us joined the conversation.

A couple of pints and Ted turns German

“Shaffrey, eh?” he said. “Sounds German to me.”

“Could be,” said Patrick Shaffrey. “I don’t even know if we’re Irish.”

I suggested all us Shaffreys get together and move into Trim Castle, an Anglo Norman fortress northwest of Dublin that lies in the heart of Shaffrey ancestral territory. Or at least hold a family reunion there.

“Now Shakespeare,” said Patrick Shaffrey. “Maybe we’re related to him. Same syllables as Shaffrey. Now wouldn’t that be something. There’s got to be something there.”

At this point I knew this good natured fellow was pulling my leg, and so this is why I’ve named the piece after one of Mr. Shakespeare’s more famous monologues, the one where Juliet pines: “What’s in a name?”

The answer when in Ireland, I’ve decided, is to buy the next round and share another story.

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