St. Patrick’s Day: Significance of Irish families

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 5:39 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - There will be more than 300 units in Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade this year.

They are more than names on St. Patrick’s Day.

“Never a word said against me’’

Savannah’s Irish families are in the body of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and at the soul of its biggest celebration.

“St. Patrick’s Day’s parade is a private parade. It’s put on by the families as it was started that was and it continues to this day that way,” Pat Rossiter said.

Rossiters. Buttimers. And Hogans.

“Past General Chairman, past Adjutant and past Grand Marshal Jerry Hogan. And his son Jerry, also a past General Chairman.

McGraths. McCarthys. And Mahoneys.

“It’s a wonderful day to begin with, but when you can spend it with your familybeing able to go to mass with you family and then walk the streets of Savannah makes it just a great day,” Mahoney said.

All walking together and celebrating together different generations being together for a tradition they started with their parents.

“We would have to be in the coat and tie. And we would not have a shillelagh, we would have a thin cane that was not very heavy and could keep our attention and now get to share it with their children.”

“They’ve walked with us every year. They’re 13 now, they’ll do it again this year.”

Even the honor of leading the parade as grand marshal won’t separate someone from his family on St. Patrick’s Day.

“Well, I had my brothers and sons and what have you as aids.”

This week, dozens of the most meaningful parade entries will walk side by side again honoring their shared heritage, faith and family.

“In our family, there needs to be no pre-planning for the parade. Everyone knows that by the time the parade steps off, we will be on Huntington between Lincoln and Abercorn.”

And ready to be on their way through the streets of Savannah together.