Hey guess what I’m totally Irish now.
I realize that sounds like baloney.
(Hold on, googling the Irish version of ‘baloney’.)
I realize that sounds like bullocks.
(You know what, actual Irish people, I’m super sorry about all of this. I mean, I’m leaving it, but I am super sorry.)
So let’s recap. I don’t know how to use Irish slang and I am a dual US/Irish citizen. Both of those things are the absolute truth.
My maternal Grandma, the ever-patient mother-of-twelve Joan, was born in County Cork. That’s where Dublin is. (Did you know that? I did not previously know that.) Ireland, for reasons I cannot begin to explain (I think ‘they were super broke’ mostly sums it up but come on, darlings, I’m almost to my sounding like an idiot threshold for this post already and I have quite a few more things to say), has the easiest citizenship process for people who weren’t born there of any EU country. As in, if your grandparent was born there and never renounced his or her citizenship, you can make it happen. Compared to that lil sprint, every other EU country’s process is apparently a triathlon.
I did it. I have an Irish birth certificate (complete with my very Italian last name) in my hot sweaty hands, and one of those nifty red EU passports will join it in eight to twelve weeks.
I’m going to tell you, super quick, what I did just in case you want to do it too. Then we can all be Irish together!!!
***For clarity, what I’m talking about is getting yourself onto the Irish Foreign Births Register. As far as I can tell, once you’re on it, you’re legally as Irish as anybody else. The birth certificate they mailed me that was covered with words like ‘CLÁR NA mBREITHEANNA COIGRÍCHE’ and it’s getting me an EU passport, so, you know. Golden.***
First and very important: I think this was clear, but have an Irish grandparent. Otherwise, find out where your grandparents were from and try to get citizenship there instead. If it was America, try to join the DAR. It’ll be fun. Red white and blue rosette brooches, probably?
Then, you need to be able to prove that a) it is your grandparent, and b) that he or she is actually Irish. Here’s what I sent:
- My grandma’s original birth certificate. It was bonkers, you guys. Like, of of those old docs that was busting at the edges and had (probably!) been written with a fountain pen. It was 1920. All pens were fountain pens. Astronaut pens (which is what we all use now in this futuristic year of 2015, right, guys?) weren’t invented until 1965. The name of the hospital she was born in had an appropriate number of vowels and consonants, but they’re in an order that makes no sense to my American English brain.
- My grandma’s marriage certificate. Same deal, although somewhat newer, obviously. Old. Crackly. Originals only.
- My grandma’s death certificate. Sad and also don’t know why, cause Ireland didn’t know she died and I could have applied while she was still alive. However, I sent it and was successful so … ymmv.
- My mother’s birth certificate. I hadn’t really thought this through before, but obviously this was to prove the link between me and grandma. Duh. One of those fancy copies you get from the hospital. I don’t know if that counts as an original? When you say original birth certificate, I think the ones with the footprint on them. Is that a thing? Did I learn that from movies and it doesn’t even really exist? What IS EVEN REAL ANYMORE?
- My mom’s marriage certificate.
- MY birth certificate. Same deal as mom’s, originality wise.
- A certified copy of my mom’s passport (Irish, because she had already gone through a simpler version of this process. However, nothing in any of the application documents stated that that was necessary. I could have done this with her American passport, theoretically.)
- A certified copy of my American passport. With both of these, nothing made it clear that a copy was ok. All the info actually sort of implied that I should send the originals. However, I had to go to Mexico and mom didn’t want to hand over her shiny new passport, so I took a leap of faith.
- A bunch of pain in the ass passport photos that I had to get taken at a specialty shop in Boulder. Around here, the normal places (FedEx, etc) couldn’t do the Irish ones, because they’re a very slightly different size.
- A filled out application.
- A buttload of money. (270 Euros. The application I filled out had a spot for debit card info so I filled that in, but in looking at the website I actually messed that up. The site itself says certified check or money order, and requests almost $50 more than I ended up paying. Whoops. Thanks for letting that slide, Dublin Embassy of Ireland! I DO NOT RECOMMEND DOING THAT, FOLKS. Send them a check.)
Did that wear you out, just reading it? It wore me out collecting it, and that’s after my family had done the hard work of getting all of my grandma’s stuff!
This is long, and there’s a twist coming. So.
Stay tuned for part two of Emma and the leprechauns! Coming soon to a theater near you.