St. Patrick's Day means more than a party for many - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

St. Patrick's Day means more than a party for many

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Hundreds of thousands of people came to Savannah Thursday, whether for the party, for the experience, for the drinks, but for some families this day runs deep.

Far beyond the noise and the color green. For some, it defines them as people.

"The families that have been here for 100 years or more, they are the exception to the rule,” said Jimmy Buttimer.

But a wonderful exception, like the Buttimers, an Irish family that has been the heart of Savannah for over 150 years. Those families always lead the parade, for those that do not understand the tradition it may not be as flashy as some would hope, but for those that understand the significance it is the most special part.

Bobby Buttimer, a man instrumental in creating the Irish Festival. Jimmy Buttimer, the Irish historian. Sister Helen Marie, the former principal of St. Vincent’s.

"People that were in school when I was principal and they have their children, and children's children. They are always in the parade and they come to show you the next generation,” said Sister Marie.

"A lot of joy, and a lot of good feelings even though the history is really brutal,” said Jimmy Buttimer.

Every Saint Patrick's Day, the whole family gathers at the Saint Vincent’s gym, remembering those that passed on.

"We inherited their dreams,” said Jimmy Buttimer.

At the same time, making sure the young Buttimers understand the legacy they will carry on.

"It becomes a major part of your life and your identity. It is not that it defines you solely, but it is one of the touch stones,” said Jimmy Buttimer.

And like the Buttimers, those old, long standing, Irish families share one common idea.

"You are always kin, you are always family. You accept people for who they are, and what they are,” said Sister Marie. 

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