Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Raven Hair and Emerald Eyes



For some of us March 17th is not just a day to wear a little of the green, buy a pot of shamrocks or dance a jig...

To me it is an opportunity to pay homage to my Irish ancestry. Pattison, Purdy, Rodgers... names deep in the roots of the Emerald Isle are abundant on my maternal side.

Some arrived early in this continent's history dating from the 1600's. Settling across the land, adapting their farming skills and spreading rich heritage as they went.

A group seeking refuge from the devastating disaster known as the Irish Potato Famine arrived later. From 1845 to 1852 over a million souls perished in their homeland and a million more emigrated to far off lands. Many poor and diseased, died at sea. So terrible were the horrors aboard ship they were referred to as the coffin ships.


Grosse-Ile at the mouth of the St. Lawrence is the final resting place of over 6,000 Irish people.The Celtic Cross erected in their memory reads "... to the sacred memory of thousands of Irish who, in order to preserve their faith, suffered famine and exile and victims of typhus, ended their sorrowful pilgrimage here comforted and strengthened by Canadian priests. Those who sow in tears reap in joy."

One such young lass who made the journey with her parents was still a babe in arms. Raven haired and emerald green eyes she was born December 25, 1845 in Cork County, Ireland.


Much to the pleasure of the young man seated beside her, Joseph took Mary Flynn to be his wife in 1869.

The picture shown is all that remains of Mary Flynn, except for the blood that flows through my veins...

20 comments:

TRES BELLE said...

Thank you so much Susan for sharing with us your rich Irish ancestry and for reminding us of the suffering and disease that accounted for the deaths of so many Irish Immigrants.

I hope people who read this post will remember that it isn't about drinking beer, eating Irish food or wearing something green but about paying homage to those who suffered so much.

Kris

Lurline said...

Interesting history - I guess, we in Australia know very little of these times - very sad!
Hugs - Lurline♥

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

What beautiful history you chronicle. Lovely photos and I am so happy to have a blog pal so far away!!! Anita

Lori said...

what a great post...my father's family came to the us from ireland...i don't know the year though...he has family living there still...i would love to go there and visit one day...

Queen of the Armchair said...

Oh Susan...what a history you have!!! My Jacqueline has married a fella with Irish roots so I can relate to this post...and so wonderful you are documenting this for future generations...Dzintra XX

Suzanne said...

I love the way you've shared this story. It was a difficult time in history. My grandmother's family came from Ireland,O'Connelly, dropping the "O" when they arrived in the new country. Thank you for the reminder and the lesson.

Christine LeFever said...

In the film Future of Food, one learns that the reason for the potato famine was that they planted only one type of potato, and when it became diseased, all failed and there was no other to save the dear people. Sadness indeed, but on the other hand, it is also good to celebrate happier things of the beautiful Irish people, and so, I shall enjoy the wearin' o' the green, and the eatin' o' the corn-beef & cabbage, but NOT the drinking of the beer, for that I am alllergic to. Perhaps a green drink of some other sort.

Christine

The Victorian Parlor said...

A beautiful post:) Thanks for sharing.

lorhen82 said...

I love stories about people's ancestry. This was a beautiful post, and I love the way you spoke about the photo of Joseph and Mary. Very poetic and lovely. ~Lori

Joyce said...

I just loved reading your family history.....and how GREAT is it that you have a photograph like that. I am thrilled for you.
Thanks for your visit.....I really enjoyed your site and especially your post.
Come visit me any time and I will visit you too...via the blogs of course. I don't think I'm getting up that far anytime soon. HA!
Be blessed,
Joyce

Karen from A`Musements said...

Susan you little scamp... you made me cry just a bit. What a wonderful tribute to the Irish and your beloved ancestors in particular! (My eyes are green.... does that count for anything?)
As Kris from Tres Belle mentions, this is a wonderful post for people to remember what St. Patrick's Day is really all about.
Lovely post, Lass...
xoxo
Karen

Britt-Arnhild said...

A beautiful story about your past.

Happy upcoming St.Patricks Day.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Tis a grand thing to know of whence you came! Happy St.Patrick's Day!

Doreen said...

What a beautiful yet tragic story. Coffin ships..how awful.

Thank you for sharing this with us.:) You always make me feel as if I was in the story you are telling :)

Hugs,
Doreen

Queen of the Armchair said...

Hi Susan...thank you for your visit...and yes the Combi did take me back to the 70's...it was just such a lovely restored one too, and so co-incidental to see on my little beach walk. Happy St Patrick's Day to you...Dzintra XX

Thistlebrooms said...

Thank you for sharing part of your family with us..So well expressed...I've read many books on the subject...

My niece is now living in Ireland with her husband who was born there...Times are difficult for them there now but nothing like back in the mid 1800's...Times & people attitudes change but Family will Always be there with hope...
Always pass along the stories told to you by your elders in your youth..Happy to know you have some photo's to cherrish...
Best...Marilyn

Pinkie Denise said...

Hello Miss Maddie Dear...Hope you have a wonderful Saint Patty's Day.Love reading about family history...one of my own passions Pinkie

Lea said...

Now... on the 17th, I not only think of Ireland, but I think of you. I am so glad Joseph and Mary met and because of that, we have you... a true gem of Ireland.

Erin go braugh...

Annabelle said...

Imagine having a log of one's family history...emerald eyes and raven hair...a true romance and its yours you lucky gal! Thanks for sharing
Hugs Annabelle

Heather said...

Oh Mary Flynn! She was so beautiful.