St. Patrick’s Day Reflection by Erin Crowley

This is a portion of the Superintendent’s Update by Superintendent Cliff Chuang mailed to Bedford Public School community on Friday, March 15. Please find this week’s full issue of Superintendent’s Update and back issues at

By Erin Crowley, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent

St. Patrick’s Day has always been considered a major holiday for my family as my father is a citizen of both America and Ireland. My grandfather hailed from Bantry in County Cork and emigrated to America with his parents as a boy. My grandmother lived on a farm in the village of Shankill, County Galway and traveled alone to America in her early 20s. Fun fact, her first job here was as a waitress in the Schrafft’s Candy Factory in Somerville.

I was raised with a heavy emphasis on learning about and appreciating the Irish origins of my family. For our family, St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t just a one-day celebration. Our celebrations started in early March, usually signaled by the addition of Irish Soda Bread at every meal, the melodies of Irish music, and the house being decorated almost entirely in green, inside and out.

Every year, we have gathered together at a local venue with live Irish music and a boiled dinner to celebrate the day, along with the local Irish-American community. My family would take the day off from work and school.

When I was young, my father would gift of us a green carnation as a way of identifying us as family while out. My son, Seamus, (currently a per diem Sub at the John Glenn Middle School), is part of the new generation of our family keeping this tradition alive. Instead of a green carnation, Seamus had the luck of the Irish and would be visited by a Leprechaun or two who would leave a trail of gold coins and shamrocks around the house to a present. He is pictured above as a wee lad enjoying some great live Irish music. Our family tradition to this day is that we always spend the day together, even though we may miss other holidays.

“May you live as long as you want, And never want as long as you live”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Slainté!

*Slainté [SLAHN-chə] means “health”

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Noreen M OGara
March 16, 2024 10:39 pm

The boiled dinner is not common in Ireland but certainly popular among Irish Americans. Cattle were scared animals* in ancient Ireland and were rarely eaten except by kings who salted the beef with seaweed. *Read the Cattle Raid of Cooley (Táin Bó Cuailnge) to understand the importance of cattle and to have a few good laughs, too.
Thank you, Erin for sharing your family story and wonderful memories. It was a delight. Éirinn go Brách!

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