Friday, March 16, 2018

St. Paddy's Day

According to my DNA, I am 87% British and Irish. On my father’s side I’m at least 25% Irish. His mother was a McNamara and his grandmother a Connolly. I also have a bit of Irish on my mother’s side. Despite my grandmother’s claim that her family was 100% Scottish, we discovered that my 5th great-grandmother in her line, Grace Smith, came from County Cork in Ireland. The ancestors on my grandfather’s side were from Scotland as far as we know.
I have always related to my Celtic ancestry. When we visited Scotland in 1993, we went to the island of Iona, where Christianity first came to Scotland. I felt very at home there amid all the Celtic symbols. Scotland was one of the few places I’ve been where people not only knew how to pronounce my name but could also spell it. And we saw stores  and buildings with my name on them.

Larry is 72% British and Irish, with his Irish roots coming predominantly from Northern Ireland. Many of the Irish in his background were Protestants.

When Larry worked on St. Patrick’s Day, he always wore a special tie—green and orange plaid. In this way, he could pay homage to both his Catholic and Protestant forebears.

I don’t care for corned beef, and I can’t eat cabbage, so they have never been a part of our observance of St. Paddy’s Day. (It is “Paddy” not “Patty.”)

We visited Ireland in 2004—both the north and the south. I felt right at home. I enjoyed all the Irish food we ate there (no corned beef and cabbage to be found). We ate quite a bit of pub food and discovered why the Irish love it.

One of my mother’s cousins invited our entire tour group to stop at her home, where she prepared a traditional afternoon tea for our group of twenty, plus our driver. Visiting her was the highlight of our whole trip. She lived at the tip of Northern Ireland. She was born in Scotland and married an Irishman. They ran a bed and breakfast there for many years. What terrific people, and we are related!

So, this St. Paddy’s Day, as on every St. Paddy’s Day since 2004, I will recall all the wonderful experiences we had on our trip. Heck, I’ll probably watch the video we created from the photos of our trip. Experience Ireland vicariously by watching Enchanting Ireland.

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