To celebrate this year’s St. Patrick’s Day, we ran a competition for a free one-hour consultation to explore your Irish roots with one of our genealogists.
We asked readers to share their favourite family traditions and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and we were amazed and thrilled at the variety of stories you all sent from right around the globe. From parades and food to music and dance, we could feel every bit of Irish pride in the submissions!
We are delighted to announce the winner of the competition – Joanne – who has kindly allowed us to share her wonderful Patrick’s Day traditions with you. Congratulations Joanne!
“When I was young, my family's St. Patrick's Days always started with attendance at Mass, followed by a hearty breakfast with black pudding & rashers purchased at a shop specializing in Irish food, soda bread with loads of butter, & big cups of tea. Then we'd bundle up & head down to Manhattan from our home in the Bronx to view the NYC parade. When I was very little, I always wore a sprig of fresh shamrocks, sent by my grandmother in Co. Kerry, on my coat collar. Those days have long passed, but I still try whenever I can, to attend the parade. It's a glorious sight when the sun shines on the spires of St. Patrick's Cathedral & the bagpipers & bands march up Fifth Avenue. I can't help swelling with pride at my Irish heritage & the recognition of all that the Irish immigrants have contributed to America.”
Some of our other favourites:
“My family regularly climbed the Hill of Slane on St. Patrick's Day recalling St Patrick lighting a fire there. We would light a small fire and have a picnic.”
“Bringing my own children and later on my grandchildren to watch the Parade and having them sitting up on my shoulders to get a good view.”
“A big meal with family, especially relatives who are alone. Must include colcannon! A gathering for family is important to us, as well as stories from previous get togethers and previous generations.”
“Drinking the black stuff (Guinness) although it never tastes as good as in Dublin.”
“The day begins with a cold but refreshing swim in Salthill, each year I tell myself I will enter the water from the diving board but after a quick look over the edge I always seem to talk myself out of it. The early morning swim is followed by a hearty fry to keep me full for the busy day ahead. I have volunteered at the local primary school for the last 8 years so my late morning is spent preparing the costumes of the excited school kids prior to their big march. Once they are ready I rush to my son’s apartment from where we have one of the best viewing points of the parade but protected from the harsh March weather. The kids never let me down and I always beam with pride when I see our months of hard work paying off! From there the whole family gathers back at my house to watch the All Ireland club finals where the Irish coffees warm everyone up and the cabbage and bacon fills everyone bellies!”
Thanks so much to everyone who entered, and keep an eye out for more competitions like this one later in the year!