Saturday, 17 March 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I'd like to take a moment to wish everyone a very Happy St. Patrick's Day. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be Irish or descended from Irish stock never like to miss an opportunity to talk about our proud Celtic heritage, and March 17th gives us an entire day to carry on about it!

My McCann ancestors emigrated from Forkhill Parish, County Armagh between 1841 and 1843 and settled in North Crosby township, Ontario, which is about an hour and a half drive from where I'm sitting right now. Joining family members who'd already been here for a year or two, they cleared a few acres of land from the rocky scrub up on Foley Mountain, just above the town of Westport, Ontario. Arthur McCann was 66 years old, his wife Ann Quinn was about 57, and they'd come over with their son John, 17, daughter Elizabeth, 15, and Michael J., who was 12. How the old couple survived their first Canadian winter in such primitive conditions is a story that I wish could be adequately told. It's a testament to the determination, pride, and strength of the Irish spirit that we celebrate on this day.

Anyone interested in the earliest period of our McCann history is welcome to take a look at this website I've been pecking away at for the past couple of years. I'm very much behind in my work on it, as my novels have been consuming most of my waking hours the past few months, but I promise to everyone in the family that I'll get back to it shortly and provide a full telling of the generations who were born and raised here in Canada.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone!

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