Tag Archives: irish

A Parting Glass To Mom And Dad


With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, my thoughts naturally turn to my favorite South Side Irishmen. While the day, and in this case, the weekend, is filled with the usual nod to our Irish ancestry, celebrating with parades, rebel songs, beer and plenty of corned beef, a part of me always feels a bit wistful, as memories turn to my parents, no longer here to join in the festivities.  And so, to them I raise a parting glass in salute.

My dad, John Casey Toner, better known as Jack to his friends, died a couple of months shy of my twenty-fifth birthday.  Though I was married with a toddler, I was still a daddy’s girl.  It wasn’t really fair, I know.  My sister is eight years older than me and had been surrounded by boys until my arrival.  In fact, one of her favorite memories was when she and my brothers were sent off to stay with my cousins as they eagerly awaited the newest arrival in the family (me, coming in at number six).  She asked my dad to please let her be the first to know if she had a new sister (for which she had been fervently praying) or another brother (to which she’d resigned herself).  Upon my entrance into the world, my dad telephoned with the news.  When my aunt excitedly answered the phone and asked the obvious question, he told her that he needed to speak with Mary Beth first.  That was the kind of man he was.  The simple, innocent promise made to an eight year old girl took precedence over all else.  When you’re the baby girl in a family, it’s hard not to be spoiled.  So, while my sister was relegated to  the role of second mother to us all, including yet another little brother bringing up the rear, I happily assumed the role of the baby girl.

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Nine Famous Irishmen


This has to be one of the most entertaining TRUE stories of Irish history.  The moral of this story:  You can’t keep a good Irishman down! Here’s a  true story about
Nine Famous Irishmen

     In the Young Irish disorders, in Ireland in 1848, the following
             nine men were captured, tried and convicted of treason against
             Her Majesty, the Queen, and were sentenced to death.
             John Mitchell, Morris Lyene, Pat Donohue, Thomas McGee,
             Charles Duffy, Thomas Meagher, Richard O’Gorman, Terrence
             McManus and Michael Ireland.

             Before passing sentence, the judge asked if there was anything
             that anyone wished to say. Meagher, speaking for all, said:
             “My lord, this is our first offense, but not our last. If you will be
             easy with us this once, we promise, on our word as gentlemen,
             to try to do better next time. And next time — sure we won’t be
             fools to get caught.”

             Thereupon the indignant judge sentenced them all to be hanged
             by the neck until dead and drawn and quartered.
             Passionate protests from all the world forced Queen Victoria to
             commute the sentence to transportation for life to far away wild
             Australia. In 1874, word reached the astounded Queen Victoria
             that Sir Charles Duffy, who had been elected Prime Minister of
             Australia, was the same Charles Duffy who had been
             transported 25 years before. On the Queen’s demand, the records
             of the rest of the transported men were revealed and this is what
             was uncovered:

             Thomas Francis Meagher, Governor of Montana.
             Terrence McManus, Brigadier General, United States Army.
             Patrick Donohue, Brigadier General, United States Army.
             Richard O’Gorman, Governor General of Newfoundland.
             Morris Lyene, Attorney General of Australia, in which office
             Michael Ireland succeeded him.
             Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Member of Parliament, Montreal.
             Minister of Agriculture and President Council, Dominion of
             John Mitchell, prominent New York politician. This man was
             the father of John Purroy Mitchell, Mayor of New York City at
             the outbreak of World War I





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