Monday, March 17, 2014

My prayer to St. Patrick

Dear St. Patrick, great holy man of Ireland.

Gee, it's been a while, and I'm hoping that you haven't forgotten me. I'm Pat and Virginia's oldest kid. I'm the great great granddaughter of  John Kelly, born in Shannonbridge in Clonmacnoise Parrish, County Offley on June 22 1829. What moved him to come to America I'll likely never know for sure but he passed in Western Maryland in the small coal mining community of Eckhart on June 28, 1891. It was a pure stroke of luck and our good fortune that my mother, Virginia, spotted the information on his tomb stone in the soft fall afternoon light and read his place and date of birth. He must have been so very proud of his own home place in Ireland to have it put on his stone.

And I'm so very thankful that I got to see his town and visit the Clonmacnoise historical site and see Temple Kelly there. Are we descended from the devout worshipers there? More likely our ancestors were humble farm workers.


St. Patrick, as you know John is buried with his beloved wife, the lovely Bridget Corcoran (1830 - 1 May 1912). We just found this out quite recently through the generosity of those who watch out for Catholics of the Allegany County Maryland area. What a blessing to know when and where they were married. And to finally know with certainty that Bridget rests here with John, although her grave is not marked. We would really and truly like to know where she came from, which could be anywhere in Ireland. They met and married in Cumberland near by where they lived in Eckhart. A hint would be lovely.

But it's not so much Bridget that concerns us most days. It's Mom's Farrell/ O'Farrell people. Mom's own dearly loved and missed mother, Emma, told her that her own blessed grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Farrell (who married Samuel Albert House and was born in Ireland on 22 November 1835 and died 28 March 1919) had told Emma that they came from the place in Ireland where you drove the snakes out. Forgive me for not listening the first time Mom told me that story. It just seemed too fantastic. What is that you saying, Oh ye of little genealogy faith? So true.

So I'm sending this little devotion off to you on your day, the day you passed from this earth, in hopes that you will send us in the right direction. Did they come from County Mayo as the legend says?

Well, have a nice feast day, St. Patrick. Perhaps you'll like knowing that to this day there are still numerous Patrick Kellys out and about.

Clonmacnoise Historical Site, Ireland, on the Shannon River.


Temple Kelly there in the background at Clonmacnoise.

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