One such person is Summerside resident Mary Duchesne.
Duchesne was one of several people who turned out for the St. Patrick’s Day Tea hosted by the Church of the Nazarene in Kensington.
“I’m originally from Charlottetown but I’ve moved here,” Duchesne said. “My great-grandmother was Annie Grady from the Summerside area and her mother was a Maggie Duggan from out Seaview area, so that’s kind of an Irish connection there. My mother was a McKee from St. John, an empire Loyalist and they were from Ireland originally, too, through the states.”
The popularity of St. Patrick’s Day is known around the world and Duchesne said the appeal comes from the type of people the Irish are.
“It’s a great day for people to celebrate the Irish, the Celtic music,” she said. “They’re very family-orientated people. Most Celtic people are very family-orientated from a way back. They like to celebrate with family and friends.”
Duchesne has researched her family background and hopes one day to visit her ancestors’ homeland.
“I haven’t been to Ireland,” she said. “I’d like to sometime get to Ireland or Scotland. I’ve kind of done my family history back some distance but I don’t know the ancestors directly. I have been doing a little genealogy at a time at home, researching.”
But researching one’s past is a time consuming endeavor and at times produces little results. Duchesne has managed to gather some information.
“There is a Patrick Duggan… but I can’t remember just what part of Ireland he was from,” she said.
She has researched so many of the Duggan clan that she couldn’t recall exactly when the family came to P.E.I. but did say in was in the 1700s.
“The Gradys, I don’t know how long they have been here but I think it goes back to somewhere in the 1800s. It use to be O’Grady and they dropped the ‘O’.”
She didn’t know exactly why they chose to leave Ireland and come to North America.
“I know times were rough then in Ireland but I didn’t get that far in researching.”