Take a Walk on the Irish Side: Celebrating Near and Far.


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You celebrate all things Irish; festivals, St. Patrick’s day.. So, are you Irish?
“Yes I am. My mother was half Irish and half Scottish and my dad is half Irish and half Polish. So I’m more Irish than anything.”

Was celebrating St. Patrick’s day always a big thing in your family?
“Yes. As I’ve gotten older, I still celebrate St. Patrick’s day. I always celebrated it in Philadelphia. I’ve also been to Savannah, Georgia for St. Patrick’s day as well as New York, Los Angeles, and Montreal. Next year, I’d like to go to Ireland to celebrate there.”

Having been to so many cities during St. Paddy’s day, do you find differences in how it’s celebrated in different places?
“Not so much in Montreal. In New York it’s a big thing. The biggest celebration is in Savannah, Georgia. There’s no celebration like it. All the fountains in the city are all green. They dye the rivers.”

You take part in a lot of celebrations. What other festivities have you taken part in?
“I’ve been celebrating for so many years. I go to the Irish festival in North Wildwood. I go to the Polar Plunge which Keenan’s Irish pub calls the Leprechaun Leap, which takes place in February. I also used to work at McGillan’s Irish pub in center city. I’m involved with the LAOH (Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians) of 51 though Fishtown and I’ll be walking with them (for the St. Paddy’s day parade).”

Will this be your first time walking in the parade?
“No. I used to walk with Port Richmond, then I moved to Mayfair and now I’m in Fishtown.”

Is this the parade downtown?
“Yes.”

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How did you get involved?
Maybe 10 years back I got involved with AOH and I started walking every year to support my Irish heritage. There’s a lot to do. I love the bag pipers. There’s a lot of those down there. I enjoy listening to them play.”

Do you have family that is directly from Ireland?
“Ancestors, a long time ago. My great-grandfather was. And I have friends from Ireland.”

Why do you think your interest in your Irish heritage is more prevalent than your other heritage?
“I just always grew up knowing more about my Irish heritage than my Polish heritage. It just clung more to me.”

What do you know about your Irish heritage?
“Just hearing things that my great-grandfather did when he was in Ireland. How he worked over there and then came here. The struggles that he had.”

Do you ever get irritated with people that aren’t actually Irish using it as an excuse to party on St. Paddy’s day?
“Everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s day! I have no issue with it. Technically, who am I to judge. I was born and raised in the United States. Technically, I shouldn’t be celebrating St. Patrick’s day.”

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What would you say is your favorite part of St. Patrick’s day?
“It’s one time of year, and I’ll speak of my friends here, one type of celebration, that everybody gets together. No matter how hard or different your life is, you try to get out and celebrate and be together.”

Do you have a tradition on the actual day of St. Paddy’s day?
“My mom used to make shepherds pie. But she’s passed and we don’t do that anymore. But that’s something I like to do; to eat that whenever I can.”

What one thing would you recommend people to take part in if they had to choose one?
“If you have an opportunity to go to the Irish festival in North Wildwood in September, try to do it. It’s the best. If you’re Irish and you wanna celebrate your heritage, that’s the best way to do it.”

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