St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite, if not favorite holidays. I am a proud Irish-American. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Ireland. Ireland is a beautiful country. The people there are kind, funny and good hearted. Pretty redheads there are a dime-a-dozen. If you ever have the chance to visit Ireland, do so. You won’t regret it.
(there were no snakes in Ireland)
Did St. Patrick really drive all the snakes out of Ireland? Of course not, there was never snakes in Ireland to begin with. That story is myth much like the stories of Leprechauns.
I’m not Catholic so I don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s day the way they do (besides the heavy drinking). I celebrate it because I am proud of my Irish-Heritage. Most Americans could care less who they are or where they came from. Not me, I am proud of my DNA. I am proud that I was born of Irish descent instead of Dutch, English or German descent. I’m not bad mouthing these groups of people. They get too much credit in history while Irish-Americans (Irish people in Ireland) are portrayed as drunks, lazy and stupid. Of course none of that is true
The sign seen above were very real in American history. Even Newspaper ads for jobs would say this. In many states Irish-Americans were the lowest of lowest normally grouped together with African-Americans and American Indians.
Above is Galway, Ireland. A lot of my forefathers settled this area during the late 1100′s – early 1200′s. Many people with my last name (the original spelling) still live there to this day. Galway is on the west coast of Ireland and is known as the music capital of Ireland.
Above is my family’s Crest. This site here, http://www.houseofnames.com/burks-family-crest
has great info about any last name. Here is what it says about my last name. So you know, the originally spelling of my name in English is normally “Burke” or “Burkes”.
Select Burke Resources on The Internet
- Burke/Bourke. Burke/Bourke name history.
- Burke Family History. Sir William Burke Teeling’s account of the Burkes.
- The Burk Family History. James Burk of Virginia.
Many Burkes did well in this Anglo-Irish world, including:
- Edmund Burke, the Dublin-born politician and orator who articulated the conservative political position at the time of the French Revolution.
- His cousin, Sir Richard Bourke, who was appointed Governor of New South Wales in 1831.
- John Burke, who began Burke’s Peerage, a classification of the English aristocracy, in 1826. This work was carried on by his son Sir Bernard and by his grandsons Ashworth and Sir Henry. They, like Edmund Burke the orator, came from the Limerick Burkes.
- Sir Thomas Burke, the Galway baronet best known for his love of horse racing. He was described in his time as “a genial handsome man, exceedingly popular with the country people, but by no means as prudent and business-like as his father.”
- and Richard Bourke of Mayo, who was appointed Viceroy of India in 1869 but was assassinated there during his period of office.
America. Thomas Burke, born in Galway, came to America in 1764 and initially settled in Virginia where he practiced medicine. He was an early supporter of the American Revolution and became Governor of North Carolina in 1781. Burke county in North Carolina was named after him. An earlier arrival from Limerick in the 1720′s was James Burk, one of the first explorers of SW Virginia. He too ended up in North Carolina.
Aedanus Burke from Galway came later to Virgina and was the first Senator to represent South Carolina at Congress. A man at cross-purposes with himself, he believed both in slavery and in democracy. He was described in the Dictionary of American Biography as “an irascible man leavened with Irish wit.”
John Daly Burke had escaped to America as a political refugee in 1796. In Boston he struggled unsuccessfully with newspaper publishing. Success came when he found a dramatic formula which suited the nationalism of his time by writing a play with a battle scene depicting Bunker Hill. The play had long runs in Boston and New York. He was killed in a duel by a Frenchman with whom he had quarrelled.
Australia. Richard Bourke, a cousin of Edmund Burke’s, was Governor of New South Wales from 1831 to 1837. Bourke Street in Melbourne was named after him, as was the Australian variety of Bourke’s parrot.
Robert Burke from Galway came out to Australia in 1853. Seven years later he was appointed as leader of the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition, the first to cross Australia from south to north. Many of his party died during their journey, including Burke himself in June 1861.
Even here in Kentucky, my last name is famous for Bourbon. You like Makers Mark? If so here’s something cool about my Irish roots -
(the Historic “Burks Distillery” now owned by Makers Mark)
The oldest Kentucky distillery site still in use, Burk’s origins extend back to 1805. Representing the growth of distilling as a major industry in Kentucky after the Pinckney Treaty (1795) gave U.S. citizens the right to unhampered passage down the Mississippi to New Orleans, it also marks the development of bourbon into a distinctive liquor marketed worldwide.
Listen, you don’t have to be Irish to have fun on St. Patrick’s day. Like they told me in Ireland, “we want everyone to feel like they’re Irish when they visit here.” We are all a little “Irish” on St. Patrick’s Day. Drink up and of course, be safe!