Friday, March 16, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day

It is one of my favorite days of the year~to celebrate my heritage and the heritage of my family. I always love thinking back to my parents and how they celebrated this day. When they were raised in San Francisco, the Irish were looked down upon as many different ethnic groups are. I grew up attending a private school and many made fun of my heritage. WE always wore and still do wear green and celebrate all things Irish.  Here is my story of growing up in a Irish-American family.

My maternal grandparents were both from Ireland, as were my paternal grandparents.
As far back as I can remember being Irish was of the highest importance to my parents; especially my mother. This was also passed down to my brother and myself; a rich pride in everything Irish. 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. An interesting side note~many years ago when we went on a cruise to Alaska, a gal who worked on the ship was from Scotland and she pronouced many words the same way I do, as well as some granddaughters. I smiled a big smile when I heard her!  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. 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 on St. Patrick's Day.  Our youngest daughter has also named all of their children with strong Irish names; something I know my parents would be very pleased with; of course, they would also be so proud of all of the grands and the ways our girls and their hubby's have raised them. I love the decision to pick names based on their meanings; Carrie's children's names also have deep meanings.
 Over the years, my brother and sister of my heart, have given me pieces from their trips to Ireland and I love displaying them.  Like most from families that are only second generation American, I carry on the traditions that I was raised with and hope that my daughters and grands also value the ties to our past.
So dear ones, this is my prayer for you tomorrow~
May the Irish hills caress you,
May her lake and rivers bless you,
May the luck of the Irish enfold you
May the blessing of St. Patrick behold you!



  1. My last name is Doyle, with a family legend of 'the Doyles come from Ireland'. Because of this she always wanted to go Ireland.

    ( I must admit in doing family research I have not even gotten the Doyle out of Virginia.)

    Anyway, after Daddy died, my brother took her to Ireland. When she returned she told me she was so at peace it was amazing.

    She had a heart attack that evening and died the next day. I guess she really was at peace. All her life's work was done.


  2. Great memories of your Mom. Thanks for sharing your thoughts of her on this special day.

  3. Dear Noreen,

    I hope you are enjoying a sweet and blessed day! I enjoyed reading about your heritage and learning more about you! What a treasured memory ~ that of your mom kneeling and praying for all of you ~ a blessing indeed!


  4. Dear Noreen,

    I enjoyed reading about your family history and your dear mother. What a blessing that you have such sweet memories of her praying for each of you!
    Thank you for your sweet comment my friend!
    Love and blessings in Jesus!

  5. Aye, me lass, ye knew the wee ones, did younow?? Ye not be a tellin' me no blarney? ;^)
    Noreen, me lass,
    My heritage is from Scotch/Welsh(my adoptive mom is Scotch/Irish) and my husband is Irish/Hungarian!
    Talk about a strange melting pot!
    One of my favorite movies is "Quiet Man" with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.
    What a wonderful heritage full of memories! I would love to sit down with you and listen to some of the stories.
    Love, Miriam

  6. Hi, Mrs. Noreen,
    Thank you for visiting my blog, and for writing me. I like homeschooling. It's nice that you homeschooled your kids.

  7. Beautiful memories of your mom. I have to agree, what a beautiful memory of having your mom pray for you.

  8. Noreen,

    I enjoyed reading about your family heritage and about your Mother especially.

    You have many wonderful memories of her, especially of seeing her kneeling and praying for each of you and that's very special :o)

    Blessings to you!

  9. truly you have "arisen and called her blessed." so beautiful to honor your mom and have precious memories of her this way.

  10. What a lovely tribute to your mother, and the memory of her kneeling by the bed in prayer. Priceless. I enjoyed reading of your family heritage.

    My paternal grandmother was of Irish heritage. I don't know much about her family, since I don't know a whole lot of my biological father. (My grandfather was Canadian/French.)

    I'm with Miriam that my all time favorite movie is "The Quiet Man" with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.

    Thank you for sharing. Have a blessed weekend!

  11. My Mommy has a little bit of Irish in her.

    Happy St. Paddy's Day to ya!


  12. We celebrate St. Patrick's Day even though the Irish is on my Hubby's side is not strong....His Dad had Irish in him (along with lots more), but the tradition prevails.....
    On my side, well, Scottish is very strong ......
    Happy St. Paddy's day to ya!

  13. Golden Thanks for sharing. Happy St. Patrick's Day. Golden Woofs

  14. What a wonderful story of your family! A lot of your heritage is the same as our Mom's. She is Irish through and through too.

    Happy St. Paddy's Day from all of us.

    Woos - O'Phantom, O'Ciara, and O'Lightning

  15. Lovely post. My ancestors were Scots-Irish who immigrated to NC in the 1700s. While most of them claimed to be Irish, my family preferred to be Scots. Perhaps it was the name, "McFalls."

  16. My paternal grandmother was born in Ireland. I celebrate every year too. Hope you had a wonderful day...blessings to you and your family!!

  17. What a beautiful story, Noreen, about your heritage. Yes, immigrants did (& probably still do) stick together in any given area of settlement. There was a rather large settlement of both Hungarians & Syrians in my neck of the woods, as that's how I came into being here.... my maternal grandparents both immigrated from Hungary.

    Family history... such interesting stuff. I wish I knew more about mine. I wrote a blog post this morning, about my heritage, and that was well before reading your story here. Our hearts must be in the same place this week.... back with our roots. :)

    Love & blessings~ Andrea

  18. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you, sweet friend! You have a wonderful Irish heritage!! :)

  19. What a wonderful story about your Irish heritage, Noreen. I loved reading it and seeing the pictures. Thank you for sharing and hope you had a wonderful St. Patty's Day yesterday. Lovingly, Andrea xxx


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