For those of you visiting here to learn about 2008 St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in New Hampshire…. First be aware that normally St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th. For this year (only) the Catholic church changed the date to March 15th so it would not conflict with Holy Week…. 1.
-St. Patrick’s Day at Mt. Sunapee Resort (March 17th)–
-St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston (MA) on March 16–
Story for St. Patrick’s Day 2007
Begorrah! This Saturday is St. Patrick’s Day. Although New Hampshire has a varied ethnic heritage, among the prominent groups who early settled here are the Irish. Massachusetts claims the largest concentration of people of Irish ancestry in the United States with 24 percent. 19.4% of New Hampshire citizens say Irish is their leading ancestry group (Those of French-Canadian origin lead the way in New Hampshire with 25.2%).
Photograph of my mother, Mary Manning & her grandfather,
Patrick J. Ryan taken about 1922. The house to the far right in the background is
where Marty Quirk grew up.
My maternal grandfathers were both of Irish origin. Although Charles A. Manning was born in Manchester, his father Thomas Manning [spelled “Mannion” in Ireland] immigrated to Manchester in the mid 1800s from County Galway, and worked as a fireman while his wife Mary (Lyons) ran a boarding house on Lowell Street, below St. Joseph Cathedral. Charles was a long-time chauffeur for a completely different Manning family of North Elm Street in Manchester. He started out driving horse-drawn carriages, and then drove one of the first automobiles in New Hampshire. My other grandfather, Patrick J. Ryan, was born in Limerick County Ireland, and at the age of 14 immigrated with his parents to upstate Vermont. He was a Civil War veteran who later moved to Manchester NH. There are many in New Hampshire who can tell similar stories.
My grandparents, Charles A. Manning, his wife Addie C. (Ryan) Manning;
great-aunt Nellie Ryan, uncle Robert Manning, and cousin Maurice Cronin, in front of their house in southeast Manchester (NH) about 1928.
Parades and parties will be held throughout New England. You don’t need to drive far, fight the traffic and go crazy looking for parking. Right here on March 17th, is the Manchester NH St. Patrick’s Parade, which will start on Elm Street, at the intersection of Salmon, and continue down Elm to Auburn Street (near the Radisson Hotel aka Center of NH). This event will begin at 12 noon.
The 2007 Manchester Parade’s Grand Marshal is none other than Marty Quirk, the famed NH Irish singer. (Oh, I hear his name is Martin, but no one I know ever called him that). I grew up in a house that stood a few yards away from Marty’s parent’s home (if you looked out our kitchen window, you couldn’t help but see his house). His older sister Eileen was closer to my age. He was a nice kid, and not particularly “pesky” as younger brothers sometimes can be. Marty’s grandfather apparently left Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland to pursue a career with the Manchester Police Department.
Back in the 1950s and 60s, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Concert was held in the Practical Arts Auditorium each year in Manchester. It was traditional for students from the Catholic schools to participate. Being a twin, my sister and I were several times enticed to participate and sing duets. I remember one year they wanted us to sing about an Irishman who got drunk and sat on his children. My mom protested, bless her heart, and instead we ended up grouped with several other children singing a Candyland song and holding giant lollipops. We got to keep the pops, so it worked out for the best.
**Some Famous New Hampshire Irish**
1. Richard (Dick) and Maurice McDonald, born in Manchester NH; founders of McDonald’s (fast food) Restaurants
2. Matthew Thornton, born 1714 in Northern Ireland, he became a physician, and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence from New Hampshire. He is buried in Merrimack NH.
3. Carroll Purinton Reed, born in Boston MA of Irish origin; resided Conway NH; started the Carroll Reed line of clothing; promoter of the skiing and the ski industry in New Hampshire.
4. Tasha Tudor aka. Starling (Burgess) McCready, illustrator, author; lived in Webster NH for 26 years, raising her family there.
5. Rose (Cushing) Labrie, Artist and Writer, born in Boston MA, resided in Rye NH.
6. Irish born, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, famous sculptor, lived and worked in Cornish NH from 1885 until 1907.
7. The potato–believed to have first been planted in the United States at Londonderry NH, on the common in 1719.
Erin Go Braugh! (And don’t forget to wear something green)
P.S. Also see “Raising Your Pint to St. Patrick”.