Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Top of the morning to you! Today is a special day in my family~you see I celebrate all things Irish, not just today but every day.  As many know, last year hubby and I had the privilege to travel to Ireland to see where my grandparents were raised.  These are some of the photos we took.






  My mother's father  was born in County Kerry and her mother was born in County Longford.
From what we know they immigrated to the United States while in their 20's, their families probably looking for a rich new land after having gone through the results of the potato famine. The details are sketchy and much is unknown, including how they came to know one another. I will say though that most immigrants were a tight knit group of people and being that they settled in San Francisco, I can only assume this is where they met. My mother had a brother and a sister and lived most of her life in San Francisco, until heading to Palo Alto with my father and our family. I never met my grandparents and from my recollections my grandfather died when she was in her teens and her mother was an invalid. Mom took care of my grandmother, who died a year after her father and also cared for her brother and sister. Mom often said her mother had an unusual sense of humor which I believe she passed on to my Mom, as well as to my brother.
 My fondest memories of my Mom were of her trying to teach me how to do a "jig". Often Mom would slip into a brogue and when I was in college while visiting Canada, many thought I was from Boston due to my pronunciation of certain words...which I felt came from Mom nd was verified when we were in Ireland.
Many of the stories I grew up hearing and believing revolved around Leprechauns and Banshees as well as "plates dancing on the walls, due to the little people". My brother and I often laugh about this now wondering if it was the Irish Whiskey that influenced what my grandparents saw. Every year on St.Patty's Day Mom would put on green clothing, green plastic shamrock earrings and wear a Kelly green plastic hat. My dad always sent her green carnations, for this was how they celebrated the day. Even now I still look for green carnations at the market and decorate with special pieces; this years I've got a few more pieces of Belleek pottery out. Of course, we always ate Corned Beef and Cabbage, although I think this is more of an Irish-American dish.
My brother has so many of my parents traits, a wonderful sense of humor, an incredible work ethic and deep loyalty to family and friends. I like to think I carry some of their traits as well~a bit of moxie, a tad bit of stubbornness(!!!)and of course deep loyalty to family and friends. I never knew mom as an adult, but I know her "Irish eyes are smiling" down at me.
Our daughters grew up celebrating St.Patrick's Day; I would often sprinkle gold glitter on their bedroom dressers and play other small pranks, telling them that the Leprechauns had visited our home.  All of our grands have been raised knowing this side of their heritage and the importance of wearing green today.
When you visit the land of our grandparents, it is amazing how traditions and habits are explained.  I am so proud of my heritage and the history our family shares.   Hubby and I will be having a traditional American-Irish dinner tonight; I said American Irish because they really didn't have Corned Beef back in Ireland~more likely it was lamb or just potatoes. We will be toasting the Emerald Isle and my family. 
We might even be watching a few Irish movies tonight like Leap Year.
May your day be filled with a bit of Irish!
Noreen

7 comments:

  1. What a wonderful heritage! Your grandparents were a tough breed, for sure, to come so far. Love the photos you took on your trip and so happy that you got to go and see and smell and taste for yourself. To get to walk where they had walked and probably missed terribly once they got here.
    Happy SP's Day to you!

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  2. How lovely! The shamrocks quilt is so pretty!
    KZK

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  3. I have Irish relatives in Ireland and they eat the traditional corned beef and potatoes or have cornered beef sandwiches , funny thing is I also have relatives in Scotland and Britain what a mixed family I have lol ! Lovely post and photos . I would like to visit both Ireland and Scotland have been to Brittan a few times . Thanks for sharing , Have a good day and a Happy St Patrick's day to you all there !

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  4. We really enjoyed reading about your family's history. Beautiful photos from your trip too.

    Happy St. Paddy's Day

    Woos - O'Ciara and O'Lightning

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  5. Your pictures of your trip to Ireland are so beautiful! Just loved the flowers, and the pictures of the sheep down by the creek, gorgeous! I enjoyed hearing of your deep family roots with Ireland too! Hope you are having a very special St. Patty's Day... we are having a special day here, but for a bit different reason, our firstborn daughter was born on St. Patty's Day 20 years ago! :)

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  6. Beautiful photos!
    Happy St. Patrick's Day!
    love
    tweedles

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  7. I so enjoyed reading your family history, Noreen! Ireland is a beautiful country and I am so glad you were able to visit last year! Your photos are lovely! Wishing you a wonderful Sunday! Blessings, Pam

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