March 17th brings many celebrations of all things Irish for those who are Irish born, Irish Americans and all others around the world with Irish blood!
St. Patrick–our patron Saint. I even attended St. Patrick’s grammar school in Bay Shore, NY!
When I was younger, and at the age of pre-celebrations, St. Patrick’s Day meant sitting in front of the TV watching the parade and trying to spot my dad marching among a sea of blue televised in black and white. Each year I swore I spotted him—but all those handsome police officers looked too much alike.
Spotting my dad on a black and white TV in the midst of blue uniforms was almost impossible–aren’t my parents the cutest couple?
It was much easier just being at the parade and spotting my cousins. Left to right–Patrick Boylan (R.I.P.) NYFD, Wayne Lynch, NYPD, Tommy Gorman, I can’t remember what state he was a cop–but he traveled here for the NYC parade.
Then came the years of participating in the fun and parties when I was young, single and living in New York City. I won’t even go there right now! MEANING–I’m not going to broach the subject of my naughty behavior on St. Paddy’s days past!
I won’t elaborate, but in my younger days, my St. Pat’s celebrations had something to do with the above images!
When the kids were young—really young, I would take them, stroller in tow, to the parade. My favored spot being across St. Patrick’s Cathedral—I figured it would be the safest and holiest place along the parade route—plus if the kids got too cold, we could go into church, light a candle and say a few prayers.
My grandmother eye rolled the “corned beef and cabbage” train of thought because she said slab bacon and a full breakfast was more trad. But she still made the corned beef anyway.
A great start to coat your stomach before the celebrations:Sausage, Blood Pudding, eggs, Irish Bacon, various toasted breads and cooked tomato.,
My fondest St. Pat’s memories were when Oona was dancing. There was always a dance-off or a performance to be had and for us “March Madness” wasn’t about basketball. It was about the dancing, the jigs, the hornpipes, slip jigs and reels. The dancing made people happy—and it was a pleasure to be distracted from competition and take a step back to think about the reason Oona did dance—to never forget her Irish Roots.
Oona back in her DeNogla School of Irish Dance Days. With Meghan Simmons at the Oireachtas and their team medals. With Megan DiBiase, now an Irish Dance teacher and co-director of McGough Academy, at an early feis (competition).
Two of my favorite dresses–Oona at All Irelands in Belfast, 2005 and at a local feis 2007. I still have the gold and black “serpent” dress. It’s nice to have a keepsake!
A nice end to Oona’s dance career. Oona and Megan at the Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas awards ceremony, 2010. It’s been a fun journey!
On St. Paddy’s, I always take a moment to reflect on just how bad the Irish had it when they emigrated here from Ireland. Doors slammed on them. They were treated like animals—living in filthy tenements and looked down upon by those who had “made it”.
The signs were real. The newspaper ads even worse. Read the ad for the Grocery Cart and harness. “No Irish Need Apply”–it was so pathetic!
My own grandmother worked as a domestic when she came here from Ireland, continuing to work hard for her family after my grandfather lost his grocery store during the depression. She was the epitome of a strong Irish woman and I thank her for instilling a pride and wonderful values to the members of our family!
Margaret Crowley Wynne–the coolest lady to rock the boat from Ireland!
Thomas and Margaret Wynne–official wedding portrait. Her head dress is to-die-for! So chic!
The Irish in America have climbed a long way up that ladder to success—and on this day we celebrate you! Sláinte agus táinte! Health and Wealth to you!
On this St. Pat’s, I want to share with you a song my father absolutely loved—he played it over. And over.” Shall My Soul Pass Through Old Ireland”. It tells the story of Terance Mc Swiney who died in prison in 1920 after days of a hunger strike. This is actually a beautiful version of the song–