Savannah Irish return to roots with Celtic Cross ceremony

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Tourists downtown may have wondered if they'd stumbled on the wrong weekend this Sunday as Savannah's Irish paraded through downtown as a part of the Celtic Cross ceremony.

The foggy horn of a great ship beckoned the Irish back to the river where they began at Emmett Park, once known as the Irish Green.
Past the home of the Sisters of Mercy, where women named Buttimer and Walsh and McKean and Hogan who gave Savannah schools and hospitals. Past the firehouse where men with names like Fogarty battled blazes. Past the police headquarters where a Mahoney once ran the city as chief.

Past ironworks built by Kehoe, past homes built by Murphy, past every part of Savannah's past.

The day began with Mass in the great Cathedral, led by the flag-wielding children of the Irish. And then Grand Marshal Kenny found out what goose bumps feel like as he walked the center aisle.

After Mass, the group returned to the street in a procession more authentic to its 1824 roots that the St. Patrick's Day Parade itself. In Emmett Park, they gathered, venerated St. Patrick and their forebears at the foot of the great Celtic Cross whose inscription reads: to American of Irish Descent; Past Present and Future:  Erin Go Bragh – Ireland forever.

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