I wanted to write something for the inaugural edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture, but I have no Irish heritage myself. None. At all. That statement belies the fact that my CD collection is full of Celtic music and my favorite radio program is The Thistle and Shamrock.
That much said, my family does have Irish connections. One of my uncles married a Irish woman by the name of Mary Louise O’Connor, a stunning beauty in both appearance and demeanor.
However, while talking with my uncle, I learned that the circumstances surrounding the marriage of Mary’s parents were a bit unusual.
Mary Louise O’Connor’s father was Dennis Valentine O’Connor, born in 1897 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was born on Valentine’s Day, hence the middle name.
When Dennis graduated from school, his parents gave him a trip to Ireland as a graduation gift, and so Dennis traveled to the land of his ancestors.
The problem was that, when it was time for Dennis to return to Boston, he didn’t. In Ireland, Dennis met a girl named Hannah Tobin and the two were married. Their daughter, Mary Louise, was born on 15 Jul 1921 in Knocknagashel, County Kerry.
The family eventually came to America. In addition to Mary Louise, Dennis and Hannah had 10 more children and named them Catherine, Joseph, Paul, Daniel, Dorothy, Francis, Gerald, Joseph, Marjorie, and Patricia.
All this because Dennis’ parents gave him a trip to Ireland as a graduation present.
Copyright © 2007 by Stephen J. Danko