Sunday, March 11, 2012


My great grandmother, Josephine came to America from Ireland in the 1800's when she was 15. I can't imagine being so brave? Traveling miles away from home, across the great BIG ocean to a foreign land, knowing you'd NEVER see home again. The conditions onboard were horrid. Getting sea-sick and vomiting daily. Having to go to the bathroom in buckets, sleeping on a wet deck, practically freezing to death. No first class luxury steamer for our family. Times were tough. Weeks, months were spent on this journey watching friends and loved ones die and get buried at sea. Their bodies tossed overboard into the dark, murky waters, never to be visited again. So sad. The trip took it's toll, indeed. But America was a land of promise and hope. No famine or religious persecution. It meant a NEW beginning. 'Sliocht sleachta ar shliocht bhur sleachta.' 'May there be a generation of children on the children of your children.' I am sorry I never got to meet you, Josephine. But every St. Patrick's Day... I do a little jig, drink a little stout, eat some soda bread, have a boxty with lamb... see that my hubby has a dinner of corned beef and cabbage... because of you... Your IRISH blood runs through my veins. If you're lucky enough to be Irish, you're LUCKY, enough. And I am.

'Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!'

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May the roof above you never fall in,
And those gathered beneath it never fall out.

May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.

May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies and quick to make friends. And may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

May you be in heaven a full half hour
before the devil knows your dead.

May your heart be light and happy,
May your smile be big and wide,
And may your pockets always have
a coin or two inside!

It is better to spend money like there's no tomorrow
than to spend tonight like there's no money!

We drink to your coffin. May it be built from the wood of a hundred year old oak tree that I shall plant tomorrow.

May God grant you many years to live, for sure he must be knowing, the earth has angels all too few and heaven is overflowing...

May the lilt of Irish laughter
lighten every load.
May the mist of Irish magic
shorten every road...
And may all your friends remember
all the favours you are owed!

Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.

May the face of every good news and the back of every bad news be towards us.

May neighbours respect you,
Trouble neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And heaven accept you.

May you have the hindsight to know where you've been,
The foresight to know where you are going,
And the insight to know when you have gone too far.

May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.

May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, and never catch up.

May you have food and raiment, a soft pillow for your head.

 May the luck of the Irish
Lead to happiest heights
And the highway you travel
Be lined with green lights.

Wherever you go and whatever you do,
May the luck of the Irish be there with you.

May you have all the happiness
and luck that life can hold—
And at the end of all your rainbows
may you find a pot of gold.

May you always walk in sunshine.
May you never want for more.
May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.

For each petal on the shamrock.
This brings a wish your way
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.

Saint Patrick was a gentleman,
Who through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland,
Here’s a toasting to his health.
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see all those snakes again.

Leprechauns, castles, good luck and laughter.
Lullabies, dreams and love ever after.
A thousand welcomes when anyone comes...
That's the Irish for You!

May the Irish hills caress you.

May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

According to one rather obscure Irish legend, a ringing in your ears means a deceased friend stuck in Purgatory is ringing a bell to ask for you to pray for him/her.

“Cemetery Sunday” is a lesser-known tradition still practiced around Ireland, although it seems to take place on whatever date is most convenient for local church leaders. A mass is celebrated for families of those buried in the local church graveyard, after which an effort is made over several days to clean up the churchyard. Special attention is traditionally given to the graves of those who have no one left among the living to remember them.

CRYING AT FUNERALS..."Keening" is the Irish version of loud crying at wakes practiced in several European cultures (Italy in particular). It involves wailing and expressing endearments in Gaelic to the deceased. At some wakes, the Keening goes on for hours, with many participants.

The first three days of April are called the "Borrowed Days" and are traditionally associated with bad weather. This derives from an old legend where a mythical cow boasted about March being unable to kill her. The result was that March borrowed three days of terrible weather from April to try and finish the cow off.

Aran Island sweaters have a variety of "family weaves." These were developed because when a fisherman drowned, his sweater would often be the only thing washed up on shore. The distinctive weave would tell a family their loved one had been lost.

Ireland is the world’s only country with a musical instrument for a national symbol: the harp.

Louth is the smallest county in Ireland; Cork is the largest.

Ireland’s highest mountain is Carrantouhill, in County Kerry (3,445 feet).

It’s not the custom in Ireland to wear green ties, hats or other green clothes on St. Patrick's Day. A sprig of shamrock in the coat lapel is the preferred display.

Ingredients for Irish Colcannon

•1 ½ lbs potatoes
•1 ½ cups of milk
•1 ½ cups of boiled green cabbage or curly kale
•1 tablespoon butter
•Salt and pepper to taste
Some people ALSO add green onions.
Boil the potatoes until tender.
Drain well.
Mash the potatoes well.
Toss the cooked cabbage in the melted butter.
Add the cabbage and butter to the potatoes and fold well.
Season with the salt and pepper to taste.


Jon said...

I'm not Irish, but this certainly put me in an Irish mood! I'll have a drink in honor of Josephine - - and I'm really looking forward to that corned beef and cabbage!

RoeH said...

What an interesting post! How I love family history. My fathers family was Irish and Scottish; my mother's was Denmark and Norway. So I'm a quarter Irish. I'd love to go there and probably just stay. So beautiful. I posted an Irish old hymn this morning and coincidentally realized it's March and St. Patrick's day is close. Great country. I've got histories of the travels over here on boat that took three months. I guess that's why I was born in these days. Not sure I could have done all that they did. But what a legacy they left us.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I've had ringing in my ears now for a number of years so I'd better start praying for those pour souls....One of my English ancestors married an Irish girl so that is how I got to be at least a little Irish. I'm a mixture of a lot of different nationalities. Corned beef is something I like on my Rubin sandwiches more than cooked with cabbage and I usually try to have them on St. Patrick's Day. I started wearing my Shamrock yesterday and will have it on now through the rest of March. Hope you are blessed with a wonderful Sunday!

Bobbi said...

I loved this post. I'm not 100% sure, but I think I remember my mom saying that my family had some Irish blood... which would explain my love for leprechauns and Lucky Charms... lol I certainly learned a lot here today. Let me be one of the first to wish you a very happy and blessed St. Patty's Day next week! May your week be fun and your weekend even funn-er. (sorry, that's all my brain will come up with this morning- haha)

jack69 said...

What a great entry. One of our destinations is health and time hol out, is the country of Ireland. I loved this entry and it made me think of the family (that I have not traced) that suffered to bring our generations to this shore and such a land.

i love th Irish toasts, always have. Mama says we are Scot Irish but we really do not know. But we will head for Ireland one day.
As I said, great entry , THANKS!!!!

Lucy said...

That is so cool. You really are Irish aren't you? Is your husband Irish? This entry is just great. A good place for an old lady with a gimpy knee to rest on her laurels.

Buttercup said...

Really enjoyed this post. All Eastern Eurpean -- alas, no Irish -- but my grandfather came here alone at 14 in the same class of ship. I've always been in awe of his courage for making that trip.

Formerly known as Frau said...

My mother is irish....funny people! Great story about your great grandmother....I can't imagine making the journey and the conditions they lived. I love St. Patty's Day....everything green and celebrating! I went to a fund raiser over the weekend that had Irish step dancers .....they were amazing to watch!

Nelle said...

Well no wonder I like you so much Terre! You're a bit Irish :) Rob is 100% and I have a 100% Irish grandfather and a full Irish Great Grandmother on the other side. Callie McGowan. We had a lot of Irish presence at our wedding. A bagpiper piped us in and out of the ceremony. He played in the bar before the ceremony and at the cocktail hour afterwards. We had the Irish wedding song played during the ceremony and several Irish songs during the reception. I have all my stuff ready. I make a great Irish soda bread and corned beef & cabbage and we have the Guinness chilling. I am sick and hoping I will be up to the prep this Saturday. Have a great celebration my friend! Slainte'

Ina in Alaska said...

I would like some soda bread and some green beer and also some corned beef WITHOUT the cabbage!! Happy St. Patrick's Day! Loved the verse and the story of Josephine, your Great Grandmother. She was a brave young lady to endure that rough voyage. A true pioneer and family matriarch! Hugs!

Nezzy said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Great Grandmother and your Irish roots.

I too have a wee bit of Irish. Mom was Scotch Irish.

God bless ya sweetie and may the luck of the Irish shine upon ya! :o)

Rose said...

I enjoyed reading about Josephine. How brave.

I think everyone is Irish on St. Paddy's day!

Hugs, Rose

Tami said...

My grandmother was adopted but we think her birth father is from Ireland. I swear I have Irish in me from a past ancestor. I am obsessed with Ireland! I even get my tea bags shipped from there!
Happy St. Patty's day my dear!

Pam said...

What a fascinating read. I imagine it was a bittersweet trip when your loved one has died and didn't get to see the promised land. I just learned recently that my family was Irish. I had always thought they were German. All those years I could have really been celebrating St Patrick's Day up right.

That corgi :) said...

I can't imagine traveling those many miles across the ocean in that time like your Great Aunt Josephine did and at such a tender young age that she was. I bet she was very glad to finally get off the ship, even though I'm sure the new land of America was equally frightening. I have absolutely no Irish in me, but always enjoyable to read about how other's celebrate St. Patrick's Day!

Enjoy your corned beef and cabbage!


Lori said...

She must have been a very brave lady!

Jenny Woolf said...

I love colcannon, one of the best dishes ever!