Family vacations are a staple to any summer break. This summer, my parents decided to do a road trip (longest car ride of my life) down to visit my family in Savannah, Georgia. What I expected was sweet tea, strong accents, and hot weather. While the hot weather was an obvious, it didn’t occur to me there would be such an Irish presence in the area.
On the first day, we headed to Downtown Savannah to stop by one of the many candy shops along River Street. As we walked down the cobblestone road, I noticed a few Ireland Flags. My shock was mainly because I wasn’t aware the Irish made it this far south. After some research, I found the Irish were a big part of Savannah’s history.
I’m not sure how much the Irish contributed to the “to-go cup”, where people of age can walk around town with open alcoholic beverages, but they did build up a lot of Georgia itself. Some people made home in Dublin, Georgia after digging trenches and railroads all over the area in the early 1800s. Unlike slaves during this time, the Irish were employed, and often worked long hours for less.
Savannah has become home to one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the United States. Many presidents have come by to celebrate, such as William Howard Taft, Jimmy Carter, and Harry Truman. While the celebration is usually connected to Irish Catholics, Irish Protestants were the ones who organized the first parade here in Savannah for St. Patrick’s day. I don’t know about you, but if that isn’t the definition of “irony” I don’t know what is.
While we planned on going to an Irish pub on one of our last days, plans changed and we ended up at an English place that had great mac & cheese. As my aunt said, “we’re not quite in Ireland but we’re still across the pond!” I enjoyed the conversation with my family, asking about where I’m going and them telling me the many people who have gone in the past and the other people who still live over there.
After this week, I’ve gained many contacts of the people who live or have lived over there, and each day my excitement keeps growing. I was happy to see the Irish are present down south here, but I’m more excited to go to where they all came from.
As I wrap up this trip to the state known for it’s peaches, I really have to start getting myself together for my move in September. I’ll keep all you loyal followers in the loop about my activity before take off, so until next time, Sláinte!