Toledo Irish: Memories Re-visited
By Maury Collins
I came across this article, which I wrote in 2005 for one of my Toledo Hibernian newsletters. It was the first of what I called, “Irish Roots.” There are so many unique Toledo Irish memories. Send me your memories [email protected]. Maybe I will write a sequel to the original book.
In the original article, I asked for two things. I asked for your stories and I asked that you join one of the Toledo Irish organizations. I ask that of each of you again. Help me update the Toledo Irish memories. Below is the original article. God Bless and Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
My sister (Sister Peg) gave me the book, ‘The Irish in Toledo – History and Memory” by Seamus Metress and Molly Schiever, on St. Patrick’s Day. What a wonderful gift. Here are a few of my thoughts and the memories that came to me while reading the book.
“From Erin to America” by Mary Anne (McNulty) Buckley – A very moving, very beautiful chapter. Mary Anne has a gift for writing. Reading this chapter is like sitting and watching as she travels from Ireland to London and finally to America. She marvels at the kindness of others and yet she has been giving to others her whole life. She and Maurice were a joy to my parents.
My thought went back to Maurice Buckley’s arrival in Toledo. Our house was full of excitement. Johnny Grady, my father’s friend, came over and added a bedroom to the huge home we had on West Woodruff.
“Memories of Growing Up Among Toledo’s Irish” by Kate and Mike Cassidy.
What memories! Mike mentioned Tommy Mackin, who was a good friend of his father. The back room at Coyle’s funeral home (either the one on Broadway or the one on Collingwood) was like a stage for Tommy Mackin and my uncle, Pat Collins. Pat, with his pipe, and Tommy would be seated next to each other matching story for story and laugh for laugh. Suggestions that they quiet down in respect for the dead person were met with Irish logic, “the dead person was better off and in a better place. And the noise doesn’t bother him or her a bit.” Do you remember the seven minute rosaries led by my father, Maurice Collins?
Mike Cassidy and John Mackin both wrote of the Irish Benevolent Club bringing back memories. If you were out of work or had hospital bills or just down on your luck, the Irish Benevolent Club would find a way of helping. The benefit dances were held at the Catholic Club. I must admit, I was one of those rowdy kids running across the dance floor. What a wonderful group that was.
And who could forget the good times at Biddy Mulligans? Every weekend would find the place filled beyond capacity. There was a festival like attitude as the Irish music, the jokes and the stories went on and on.
There is so much more. The card games ( a game of 25), the Irish picnics, Mary McManus’s restaurant, the Knights of Equity, The St. Patrick’s Day Mass (you got there by 3 for the 4 o’clock Mass or you had to stand in the aisle).
There are stories that you could tell. Send them to me or call me and tell me. I’ll put the story here in the OhioIANews for the enjoyment of all. Pass the heritage to your children and their children, Join one of the Irish groups: The Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians or The Toledo Irish American Club. These are all fine organizations that honor our heritage and pass it along to the next generation. Get involved. You will have fun and learn more about the Toledo Irish and your own heritage.
One of my granddaughters asked me if she was Irish, because she thought that she was American. I told her that she was an American with an Irish heritage. I told her that her Great Grandmother and her Great Grandfather left their home when they were just eighteen years old, knowing that they would never see or talk to their mommy or daddy again. What a sacrifice.
Despite the hardships and the sacrifices, the Irish found joy in music and dance. We honor their memory. Their sacrifices must never be forgotten. Tell me your stories!!
* Maury Collins is a charter member and past president of the Toledo AOH division. He may be reached at [email protected].
Don’t Forget, Send Maury [email protected]) and John ([email protected]) your Toledo Irish events news and pics so we can let everyone know. Deadline is 10thof the month, for the following month, so Jan 10 for February issue, etc ….