May you always walk in sunshine.
May you never want for more.
May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! This is mostly a repost, slightly updated, but when you can trace your husband's family back to Ireland in just a handful of generations, what else is there to blog about on St. Paddy's Day? I hope you enjoy it, even if you've read it before!
Bridget Shallue was just 52, younger than I am now and already a widow, when she said goodbye to Ireland in 1852 with her grown children...chased away by the potato famine, I'm sure.
If she ever returned, it isn't mentioned in the family lore.
Accompanied by two daughters and two sons, Bridget first arrived in Quebec, traveled to New York, and finally settled in Wisconsin in 1856.
One daughter died on the passage from Ireland and was buried at sea. Two older sons chose Australia over America to begin their new life. I doubt if she ever saw them again; her goodbye to those sons was probably as final and heartbreaking as her goodbye to her home, her homeland and her husband Thomas's grave - he had died just a few years before, at age 45.
And then the added heartbreak of watching a daughter's lifeless body disappear into the ocean...heartbreak I just can't imagine.
My own Tom Shallue and I found all of this out shortly after we were married, by talking to relatives and researching in libraries. We traced his family back to Ennistyman, County Clare...to that first Tom's grave, but that was as far as we could go. There was no Internet twenty-five years ago, no Ancestry.com, and we couldn't afford a trip over to do our own research or to hire a professional to do it for us.
It hit me that I knew more about the Shallue history than my Wilson's, so the next few years I focused my genealogical fervor on that line and other branches of my family ... for example, my great-great grandfather George, memoir writer and protagonist of (one of) my book-in-progress.
But today is St. Patrick's Day and my thoughts are green...drawn toward the Shallue family and Ireland. Tom and I dream of traveling there one day, visiting the places that are only names on a map to us right now.
It would be extra fun to travel there with my son and daughter-in-law, Kirby, whose Irish-born grandmother left for the United States when just a teenager. She still has semi-close relatives living there. Even now, decades later, her grandmother hasn't lost her beautiful Irish accent!
The photo above isn't the final resting place of a direct descendant - it was taken by an aunt or cousin on a visit to Ireland several years ago - but it's no doubt a relative's final resting place because every Shallue is related. There just aren't that many!
Even these very names...James, Margaret and Denis Shallue...are echoed on tombstones on both sides of the ocean.
The Australian Shallues were always a mystery to the American branch. Rumor had it those brothers got on the wrong boat...they went to Australia totally by accident! But even though the American and Australian Shallues have connected on Facebook and Instagram, I still haven't gotten any clear answers about how they ended up there.
Tonight we'll be celebrating St. Paddy's Day with dear friends... the very Irish Monahans. There will be Guiness and Irish music and way too much corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, Irish soda bread, and no telling what else to eat. I can't wait!
Here's wishing all of you a happy St. Patrick's Day, too! And may God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.