Let’s make this clear, I’ll admit that there is a faint resemblance, but I am in no way related to Jimmy Bulger, the infamous Boston mobster now in leg irons.

Yes. He is Irish. I am Irish. That’s it. I mention this because a strange woman approached me in the cereal aisle at my market this week, to tell me how surprised she was that the Irish were so violent.

She was, of course, referring to the flap about Bulger, the notorious Irish mobster who is now in the Boston clink. “I always thought you Irish people were so sweet.”

It gets worse. My coffee barista asked, “Doesn’t your daughter live in Santa Monica?”

It’s just a coincidence of course that my daughter has biked right past Jimmy’s hideout overlooking the ocean many times, and once said, “Daddy, there’s a really dapper old guy who sits on the bench at the beach who looks just like you.” She says that all the time. It’s nothing.

It’s true that my grandparents, Matt Devine and Bridget McNamara, lived for a bit in South Boston when they first got off the boat. But they left shortly after and never ran into Jimmy Bulger.

Still, chauvinistic as I am of the tribe, I feel obliged to dispel some of the blarney about the Irish. Young viewers of Turner Classic Movies have come to think of the Irish as singers of songs, poets, dreamers, tap dancers and crooners. Yes, Jimmy Cagney played some bad guys, but there was his George M. Cohan and a dozen other song and dance characters.

Yes, there were Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Dennis Morgan. You’d have to be collecting Social Security to remember them. There were Flannery O’Connor, James Joyce, Sean O’Casey and Frank McCourt. They’ve all made us look good in the new world, and we’re grateful, but there is another darker green side to the American shamrock, and Jimmy Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang in Boston and the Westies in Manhattan are proof of that.

Yes, there were Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Dennis Morgan. You’d have to be collecting Social Security to remember them. There were Flannery O’Connor, James Joyce, Sean O’Casey and Frank McCourt. They’ve all made us look good in the new world, and we’re grateful, but there is another darker green side to the American shamrock, and Jimmy Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang in Boston and the Westies in Manhattan are proof of that.

It should be no surprise to anyone, even the most fervent doubters, that the Irish in early American history were a shady bunch. One only need look to the police wagon that daily rounded up felons in the big cities.

It was called the “Paddy Wagon.” Fortunately, “Mad Dog” Coll, Jack “Legs” Diamond, “Mad Dog” Sullivan and “Trigger” Burke of the ’30s are gone. And then there was Francis “The Irishman” Sheeran who worked with Jimmy Hoffa and claimed to his death to have been the betrayer and the gun who shot Jimmy. Make of that what you will, but you can Google him.

In my own family there were priests and nuns, one judge, four bartenders, and to this day, hard working cops. Of course there was the occasional bad egg.

My second cousin, Eddie Devine, a well-known fashion plate and bona fide gangster in South St. Louis back in the roaring ’20s, was separated from existence with extreme prejudice in a neighborhood alley with two slugs to the back of the head.

My father, who told my brothers, who told me, said he never came to the house. My mother would not speak of him, and when his name was mentioned, only made the sign of the cross.

We of the blood are grateful that the Italian mobs came to America and formed the Mafia. That took the heat off of the Irish who went on to become wealthy saloon owners, singers of songs, tap dancers, writers, one President of the United States and the occasional comedian. We are good at comedy. An Irish woman in Southie, interviewed on NBC Nightly News, said, “So he was a mobster? So what? Everybody’s got to have an occupation.” Ain’t it the truth? Welcome home, Jimmy.