Sunday, 17 March 2013

Paddy's Day




It's funny but I always thought my surname derived solely  from Scotland.
It probably does seeing that my father's father hailed from over the border but over the years I have learnt than the name GRAY also has roots in Ireland and indeed also from the town of Grayes in Calvados, France.
I am First generation Welsh.
My grandparents hailed from West Calder in Scotland, and Lancashire and my great grandparents from the North West of England, Ireland, Scotland and all places Inbetween.
Therefore historically, I am a Northern Celt with touches, interestingly enough, of Jewish Gypsy from my fraternal grandmother's side who possibly originate from somewhere in Central Europe.
Like most people in the Uk, I am a product of industrial and economic migration.
Having a Irish and Scottish background of sorts, I may be forgiven for jumping upon the Celtic bandwagon of St Patrick's day, but alas, my days of drinking green Guinness with a strange green felt hat on my head went out with my student celebrations with best friend Nuala, who couldn't come from a more Irish/Liverpudlian family if she tried.
I find the cultural need of  the 'New World' Irish decendents to celebrate "Paddy's Day" so vociferously fascinating .Its not just a good excuse for a piss up , it goes deeper somehow...and is something, perhaps I will never properly understand.
perhaps someone out there could explain it to me.

ps
Thank you nana for the promise of sending me some West Calder photos
Thought you may appreciate this photo of one of your fellow Scots
In way of thanks!

49 comments:

  1. I am in Cambodia and there are signs everywhere here for tonight's celebrations.

    I don't think it is possible to forget st paddys day unlike Xmas or hannukah...

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    1. It's a bloody small world eh?

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  2. I think the St. Paddy's Day celebrations here in the U.S. are even more exhuberant than the ones in Ireland. My heritage is 100 per cent Hungarian - - but I like Irish beer!

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    1. I have just seen the green dye being poured into the. River in Chicago....good fun!

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  3. I try not to think about St P.

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  4. You need an explanation for 'Any excuse for a good knees up'?

    My heritage is uncertain. It is rumoured that I was the heir to a German Count's estates and title but having been left unattended by Nanny I was kidnapped by ne'er do wells and given over to a life of military servitude.

    The origins of may name, Gowans, are to be found in one of the verses of Auld Lang Syne:

    "We twa hae run about the braes,
    and pu’d the gowans fine ;
    But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
    sin auld lang syne."

    The English translation being:

    "We two have run about the slopes,
    and picked the daisies fine ;
    But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
    since auld lang syne."

    So my name in English is Tom Daisy. No wonder I was 'Kin 'Ard at school...

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    1. Gowans......almost sounds french

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  5. I am a bit of an Heinz 57. My mother's great grandmother came from Wrexham, her great grandfather came from Yorkshire, My dad was Irish, I was born in Lancashire and my mothers surname is German. Thinks Saint Patrick was born in Scotland and his parents were Italian. Happy Paddy's Day, everybody!

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    1. Dave... Another mongrel like me eh?

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  6. I am czech/austrian (mother side) and british (father side); my british ancestors were from manchester.

    and I do not celebrate today with a piss up cause I don't care. I'm not irish, it's not my holiday.

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    1. Manchester is a cool old city...

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  7. Anything for a knees up even if the connection is only remote I say john. Incidentally, have you ever thought of having the DNA test done to see which of the 8 women you date back to from the beginning of things? Myfriend sent off her DNA to this Ancestry place in Oxford - she is fair and blue eyed and always joked that her ancestor was probably a Saxon princess - back came the analysis that she was 98% Celt. Am thinking of buying the farmer a dabble in it for his seventieth birthday which comes up in June.

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    1. Funny you said this pat.... We aim to do the same thing with my elder sister,...who remains fascinated by all but this family history

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  8. We Michigan MacKinnons celebrate St.Pats mainly because it is a celtic holiday of sorts. The Saint himself doesn't get a nod, just the tradition. So corned beef, cabbage and a Guiness or two it is for supper. Not the green kind. We also celebrate Robert Burns Birthday and you can go to any number of celebrations for a wee dram and a serving of haggis. Wills family hails from the Scottish highlands and Wales about two generations back, while my ancestors came from the Scottish borderlands and celtic France 3-5 generations back with some stop over in Canada for both our families.

    I think perhaps some of us on this side of the pond at times yearn for our deeper roots which were severed through emigration, and so joyously imbibe in holidays that help us identify with our background no matter how tenuous the connections. Slainthe!

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  9. I'm a Gordon Highlander through and through! Your grandparents came from West CALDER?! I went to school there for a while and also got my first job there in the Trustee Savings Bank! They've just opened a new 'John Gray Centre' in a local town to where I live now - further east - I'll take a pic and send it to you - it's always good to see your name up in lights!

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    1. Nana... Thank you I would love to see your photos... Will leave you a photo of a typical scots man as a thank you

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  10. You are quite a mixture then, like all true Brits. All I know about St Patrick is that he wasn't Irish. St George was a Syrian, wasn't he?

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  11. Funny, I always thought you had a bit of a Lancashire accent.
    Jess is doing that DNA thingy for husband's 50th & an extra one with my DNA - can't wait to see the results !

    I went out with an Irish boy with a quick temper ( luckily I came to my senses & married a Scot ! )

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    1. Did they have ginger hair too?

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    2. I always thought that you had some Gypsy in you in the past.

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  12. Heritage research is an ongoing hobby in the US. Most of us grew up with parents and grandparents talking about the 'old country' therefore the research, to find genetic purchase in a way. We are also always looking for a reason to celebrate something, we have Hallmark holidays. (Hallmark makes greeting cards.) I am Scotch/Irish/German/Italian, therefore, lots of excuses to celebrate! In Pittsburgh, a center of immigrant culture we have the 2nd largest St. Patrick's day parade, it was grand!!!

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    1. Isn't there a bit welsh history in Pittsburgh.... I remember seeing welsh names of streets and places when I was there

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  13. I have strong Irish heritage but have never felt the need to celebrate St Patricks Day....just another excuse for a booze up I think.

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  14. Happy St. Paddy's Day, John, Chris & Gang. I was almost a Patty. xx

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    1. That does not surprise me x

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  15. Pagan 'royalty',a member of a Viking warrior tribe ,French Jew and Spanish gypsy,born in England, a Canadian citizen...nah, I won't be celebrating St Patricks Day.
    Jane x

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    1. Tell more more....that's a bloody eclectic mixture x

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    2. Eclectic...so much nicer than mongrel!
      Jane x

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  16. My great great grandfather, Martin O'Rourke came to the US from Portloaise Ireland. My grandmother on my dad's side had so many practiced customs and stories that facinated me and I celebrate being Irish all year long. I have visited Ireland four times now and pray I can come over again. My grandson and I went thru our geneology book last night and will celebrate with all the family today by cooking for them all just as my grandma did. The blood test Weaver Of Grass spoke of is very interesting indeed. My grandmother also married a full blooded Cherokee Indian her family were Catholic and in recent years there were Baptists....so I am and Irish Indian Catholic Baptist....there IS a reason for my personality! There is just something in my heart that yearns for Ireland. I would be very content to live out my days there....if only.

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    1. Linda......your heritage sounds wonderfully exotic x

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  17. I am pretty sure that 'we' in the New World tend to over-celebrate St. Paddy's Day because this tradition has been passed on from those who had to leave their beloved country either due to being in the wrong religion (Roman Catholic) or due to economic circumstances caused by the potato famine.They never really wanted to leave.
    My distant Irish relatives chose instead to go to Scotland and join in with the MacDonald's to fight the Campbell's!
    Funny thing John, my original 'Irish' ancestors were 3 Hebrew brothers from the Middle East....their last name was Isaac which turned into MacIsaac. There ya have it me laddy!

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    1. Everyone's story is more interesting than mine.... Great info jimbo

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  18. Hailing from Appalachian roots, I truly am a mix of Scottish, English, and Irish heritage. Though, I have to say the St. Patrick's Day is not really celebrated in my small town.

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    1. With your English rose complexion....I am not surprised

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  19. I'm pretty boring too, John....just mostly Irish because me Mom (Regan) was smart and steered clear of discussing too much re: ancestors coming to the New World. So I feel more Irish even if I have Scottish(Maccaulay) and Troke(English)!

    Slainte Buckooo!!

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  20. I think most of us are mongrels, John, I know I am. My mother was half Welsh and half Irish. My father was half Scottish and half Jewish. They say that mongrels usually inherit the best bits of their heritage anyway, so I'm celebrating St David's Day, St Patrick's Day, St Andrew's Day, Hannukah and anything else that calls for a drink!

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  21. Everyone is Irish today! Happy St. Patrick's Day, John!

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  22. On this day, the whole world is Irish, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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  23. D'you have his number please?lol You just made an old woman very happy!Have a good week, pal.x

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  24. Everyone around our area is of Scottish descent, and obsessively proud of it. Yet last night we went to the local pub, and they were all wearing green and going nuts for St. Pat's Day. Go figure! I at least have Irish blood, but not many others around here do! And I rarely celebrate the day but there was some good music on last night. :)

    You are an interesting mix!

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  25. John my family name is Llwyd :)

    St. Patrick originated from a village on the banks of the river Severn

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    1. Llwyd is lloyd isit not?

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  26. My father was Hungarian. My mother was Cherokee Indian with some Scottish, English and Irish.

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  27. Jock McGray has a nice ring to it don't you think? Time to split from Wales and find a little highland croft where you can play your bagpipes up and down the glen. As for St Patrick's Day, I wonder if St George's Day will ever take off in pubs on the Emerald Isle?

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  28. My heritage is mostly Welsh with some English thrown in; one side emigrated to the New World early on, the other three generations before me.

    I never understood the reason for celebrating St Patrick's Day, as i was neither Irish nor Catholic. As a kid, i insisted on wearing both green and orange for several St Pat's Days, insisting that i was neutral on the Irish Question, and of course, attracting more comments than had i worn any other colour but those two.

    I don't drink often or very much when i do imbibe, so my times with green beer have been almost nil.

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  29. I, too, am a product of so many movements and migrations that I'm hard pressed to find somewhere my family ISN'T from.

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  30. every year it seems that it changes what nationalities our ancestors were... so all i know is that Im second generation off the boats here stateside and that i will party with any nationality on their day' ...yep.

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