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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

2nd Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade of Posts!

On this St. Patrick's Day, the weather where you are might be blustery or blazing; snowy, sunny or rainy, but here in the blogosphere the weather is just right for a parade!
Welcome to the
2nd Annual
St. Patrick's Day
Parade of Posts

(otherwise known as the
12th edition of the
Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture)

St. Patrick's Day is here! It's time for the wearin' o' the green and the celebrating of all things Irish. So find yourself a spot with a good view of our parade, and prepare to have a grand old time getting to know all of this year's entries. We're glad you've joined us on this day of worldwide Irish celebration!

It is truly a worldwide celebration. Did you realize that there are more than seventy million people numbered within the Irish diaspora today? With the country's sad history of famine and hardship, the children of Ireland now reside throughout many parts of the world. For a sentimental look at "Irishness" read my article "A light in the window": The sign of welcome for 70 million cousins over at A light that shines again. You'll also learn some ways that those of you who have Irish heritage can begin to connect with your seventy million Irish "cousins" worldwide.

Let's begin our parade today with a little bit of Irish history. First, St. Patrick himself. Colleen Degnan Johnson of CMJ Office gives us some background on the patron saint of Ireland whose feast day we celebrate today. Visit St. Patrick and the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture where you can also read the story about his death and how the Irish mourned his loss.

Julie Cahill Tarr, who grew up wearing green and eating corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day, knew little about the origin and meaning of the holiday until recently. Visit Julie's GenBlog for an answer to her question What Exactly is the Significance of St. Patrick's Day?

For another look at the background on St. Patrick's Day, visit Tipper's Blind Pig and the Acorn blog. I found particularly interesting her tip on what to do in retaliation if someone pinches you on St. Patrick's Day when you were actually wearing green.

Kathryn Kahumoku gives us a photo tour of historic St. Patrick's Well in County Leitrim, Ireland. On a trip to visit a relative's grave in the nearby cemetery, she visited the well and learned about its history, including the significance of the three rocks called "Stations of the Holy Well". The rocks are believed to have been placed there by St. Patrick to help teach the local people about the Trinity. Visit Kathryn's St. Patrick's Well in Aughavas, Co. Leitrim posted at for my ancestors to view her photos, read her story, and learn some of her plans to celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year.

Another prominent figure in Irish history is the great Brian Boru, legendary King of Ireland. Paul O'Brien of The O'Brien Store and Blarney Social Club takes us back 1200 years to the time when the Vikings were settling in Ireland. Telling the story of his namesake, he writes About Brian Boru - the Brian in O’Brien. Read his article for an entertaining history lesson as well as an explanation of the origin of the use of O' and Mac in Irish surnames.

Moving up closer to our own times, Bill West has provided us with a little history lesson on one of Boston's well-known Irishmen: politician John Fitzgerald, the grandfather who gave President John Fitzgerald Kennedy his name. Read Bill's story about this legendary Irish-American politician, well-known as "Honey Fitz", over at West in New England.

Today is the feast day of St. Patrick, yet Americans celebrate all of March as Irish-American heritage month. Many others throughout the world keep up their St. Patrick's Day celebrations throughout this month also. What better way to honor St. Patrick than to focus some special effort during these thirty-one days on learning about the history of Ireland, or better yet, the history of your own Irish ancestors, if you have them.

Several of our participants are working on their Irish family trees. Read their stories for inspiration in your own family search.

On her Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay blog Dorene Paul shares images of the gravestones and tells the stories of the lives of her ancestors Daniel and Johannah Larkins. St. Patrick's Day has long been celebrated in Dorene's family. Read her article to learn about her ancestor's role in an 1844 committee which resolved to celebrate St. Patrick's Day "without any intoxicating beverages".

With a photographer in the family tree, M. Diane Rogers ended up the recipient of some beautiful family portraits of her ancestors. She shares two images of her Irish-Canadian immigrant ancestors from County Cavan at Irwin - Moffat - County Cavan, Ireland: 12th Edition, Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture posted on her CanadaGenealogy, or, 'Jane's Your Aunt' blog. Those of us with Irish ancestors whose faces we have never seen can't help but be green with envy this St. Patrick's Day!

For another photographic treat, take the time to visit footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog for a vintage cabinet card and carte-de-visite that she has shared In Honor of St. Patrick's Day. You'll enjoy footnoteMaven's perspective on these images of Irish citizens of the 19th-century, including a little background on the photographers.

It is hard to decide which would be a more exciting find for a family historian - a vintage family photograph or a family letter written over a century before. Earline Bradt of Ancestral Notes has such a letter, written in the mid-1800s (five generations back) and sent from Caherciveen, Ireland to a family member living in Canada. Earline's Letter from Ireland, dated 1854, is a reminder of the struggles that families faced in making decisions to emigrate from Ireland and the loss of family ties that they suffered because of difficulty communicating across the miles during the 19th-century.

One of the things that Kathy Brady-Blake of Kathy's Genealogy Blog enjoys about having Irish heritage and doing Irish genealogical research is that she has an excuse to visit Ireland. Read Kathy's article My Favorite Thing about Irish Genealogy for the chronicle of her last trip to Ireland which she dubbed the "Library Tour of Ireland". (Her kids enjoyed another aspect of the trip: they called it the "Playground Tour of Ireland".) That won't be the last of Kathy's visits to the land of St. Patrick. As Kathy states, "the National Archives of Ireland is calling to me". She has plans for another trip in the works.

If you have plans for research in Ireland someday and want to make progress on your Irish genealogy at home first, visit Donna Moughty's Birth, Death Marriage Indexes for Ireland article and her follow-up Update on Irish Civil Registration. Donna gives us a play-by-play report of her use of these indexes, newly available on the Family Search Pilot website. Donna, who helped index the records, says, "I was really doing the happy dance when I discovered the Civil Registration Indexes of Ireland were finally posted at the FamilySearch pilot site! Check it out, but don't type in the Registration District in the 'Place' field. For some reason they decided to use the county." Donna, a professional genealogist, has many other great Irish resources highlighted on her blog. Check it out when you have lots of time for reading.

Now for a few simple ideas on how to celebrate St. Patrick's Day (i.e. much smaller projects than working on Irish genealogical research!):

Janet Iles (the Researcher) shares her plans for this St. Patrick's Day with us at St. Patrick's Day is Coming. If you are in the Ontario area, you may be interested in attending the Leprechaun Luncheon in Owen Sound that Janet mentions.

For some great ideas for your St. Patrick's Day menu, try Colleen Degnan Johnson's recipes: Irish Stew the Anna Clune Finnegan Way and Irish Scones. The Irish Stew recipe has been passed down to Colleen from her grandmother.

Want some ideas for Irish-themed beverages to share this St. Patrick's Day? Kathryn Vercillo presents some that are popular in Ireland and in Irish pubs around the world within her article Best Irish Drinks for Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

What would an Irish celebration be without some good Celtic music? Break out your Irish favorites this St. Patrick's Day. For some inspiration, read Kerry Dexter's ceol chairlinn: sharing music in winter at her Music Road blog, where she shares an example of how music helped to bridge gaps between people and lead to mutual understanding and friendship.

However you celebrate, don't forget to dress and decorate with at least a little bit of green. Better yet, wear an authentic Irish shamrock on your person. That was the tradition for many years during the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City. Sadly, back in 1925 the parade-goers who were anticipating their shipment of shamrocks were disappointed: a bureacratic technicality forced their eagerly awaited little boxes of green to be returned to the senders in Ireland. Read the story about St. Patrick's Day 1925 at Rachel Murphy's Irish Family History blog. Let's hope you have no such complications with your St. Patrick's Day celebrations this year!

For this St. Patrick's Day parade 2009, Tina Sansone of Gtownma's Genealogy submitted the list of surnames in her Irish family tree. Read them at My Irish Surnames: Are you Lucky? Tina didn't know it, but she was a little ahead of schedule.

The topic for the upcoming 13th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture is Irish Names. Read more at Our Irish heritage: What's in a name? on the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture blog. Deadline for this upcoming edition is Sunday, May 24, 2009. Hope to see you there!

Thanks very much for joining us for this 2nd annual St. Patrick's Day edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture. Many thanks to all of our contributors. If you just can't get enough St. Patrick's Day reading, make a visit over to last year's inaugural edition of the parade.

Now, as we conclude this parade, it wouldn't be right for the master of ceremonies to leave you without an Irish blessing. A wish for you on St. Patrick's Day:

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!
(Ban-ock-tee na fay-lah paw-rig ur-iv)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Your St. Patrick's Day to do list, 2009

With St. Patrick's Day fast approaching, I hope you have gotten your plans in order for celebration.
Checked these off your list yet?
  • Something green to wear
  • Recipes and ingredients ready for a meal with Irish soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, etc. (or plans to eat out at your favorite Irish pub)
  • Info and directions to get to your nearest St. Patrick's Day parades and celebrations
  • A few Irish Gaelic phrases - practiced and ready (view the short video below for a start)
Last but not least, don't forget to send in your submission to the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture's 2009 St. Patrick's Day parade edition (deadline March 14)!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A little test for you before St. Patrick's Day

Get your thinking cap on under your green St. Patrick's Day hat and give these quizzes a try:
The last one is a doozy - you might want to study in advance if you're afraid to take a hit to your Irish pride with a low score. If not, go ahead and try your luck in the name of St. Patrick!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: The Cowheys of Mount Carbon

Members of the Cowhey family,
Mount Carbon, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.
Black and white photographic print.
Unknown date. Privately held by M.,
[address for private use]. 2009.

Click on the photograph to zoom in. Many thanks to my "cousin" who generously shared this photo.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Erin is calling: St. Patrick's Day is on its way!

With less than two weeks left until St. Patrick's Day, it's time to get your plans in order!

First: Be sure to have some green ready and waiting.

Second: Find yourself a local city or neighborhood St. Patrick's Day parade to attend. Visit the site that bills itself as "the largest Irish parade website in the world" to find the date, time and location of one close to you.

Last, but certainly not least: Make plans to join us for our online St. Patrick's Day "parade" - the 12th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture! Last year's event was so much fun. Don't miss out on joining us this year. No Irish bloodline is required - just a love for Ireland and the Irish. Share your articles on anything and everything Irish for our carnival by the deadline: March 14, 2009. On St. Patrick's Day, March 17, we'll all gather together here at Small-leaved Shamrock for the big celebration! Hope to see you there!


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