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My Irish Roots

Mortgage and Lending with SWBC Mortgage 410-960-2061 NMLS 196068

My Irish Roots

Top of the evening to you...

With a name like Bridget McGee I bet you are not surprised to learn that I have Irish Roots.

In 1913, my grandmother, Bridget McDonnell Nolan, left her home in County Mayo, Ireland to travel to America. She arrived at Ellis Island as one of the maids for a wealthy family.  She was 15 years old. 

She worked and sent money home to her family in Ireland, eventually saving enough to bring one of her sisters to America.  Together they saved to bring another, and so on until there were five McDonnell sisters who all eventually married and settled in Baltimore, Maryland.  And so began a legacy of family love and legacy.

Irish Roots

I remember dancing the Irish Jig as child in my grandparent's basement.  I always loved to spend time with my grandparents. My grandmother was the most welcoming woman I have ever known.  If someone showed up unexpectedly, she'd always put the kettle on for a nice cup of tea.  If it was meal time, she'd throw another potato in the pot.  I am  the 28th of  30 grandchildren and somehow we all felt that we were the most important.

Each year, for as long as I can remember, the McDonnell Family has gotten together at Christmas and on the Saturday before Father's Day.  The offspring of my great aunts (my gran's sisters) tend to make a better showing than the Nolan's, but we are always represented.  As I have gotten older, this extended family has become more and more important to me.  I have always loved being Irish and often joke that my grandmother used to say "T'ain't funny McGee" so I married one!

I was hoping to get to Ireland this summer with some of the family, but plans have changed.  Many years ago, when asked if she wanted to go to visit Ireland, my grandmother said "After trying so hard to get away from there, why would I spend our hard-earned money to go back?"   I will one day go see the country that birthed such amazing, strong and brave women. I can't imagine leaving my family knowing that most likely I wouldn't see them again.  There is family that still lives on the land where my grandmother was born.  I want to meet more of the family and lift a glass (and more)with them. 

st patricks day parade baltimore

My daughter is named Sydney.  I just loved the name.  I found out when she was about 1 year old that my grandmother had a sister named Sydney who died while a toddler, and that my Great-Grandfather had nicknamed my Great-Grandmother Catherine, Sydney!  Now those are some roots!Baltimore St Patrick's Parade


On this feast day of St. Patrick, I raise my glass of Guiness to you Gran, to your parents who loved you enough to let you go, and to you Pop Pop for finding the true gold at the end of the rainbow!  I toast the McDonnell sisters and their offspring who have carried on the legacy of love and family in Baltimore that you began!  I hope you are looking down and smiling!!  Slainte!

"May God grant you always...A sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you. Laughter to cheer you. Faithful friends near you. And whenever you pray, Heaven to hear you.

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Warm Regards,

Bridget McGee  Maryland Mortgage Mama  NMLS# 196068  SWBC Mortgage.   410-960-2061 EHO   bridget.mcgee@swbc.com or www.marylandmortgagemama.com


If you are considering purchasing a home in Maryland and want to be sure you are mortgage ready, my brother Tony and I will be happy to help! We help to make the mortgage process a pleasure! 

If you already own your home, we are happy to provide a no-cost mortgage review to help you to determine if refinancing may be in your best interest.  Please contact me at 410-960-2061.

Comments (6)

Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Bridget - what a wonderful and fascinating story from a proud Irish American, or American Irish, whichever you prefer. Thank you for this so well written story

Mar 17, 2012 01:44 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

What a beautiful tribute to your family's legacy. That is some cute leprechaun. Would love to see you dancing the Irish Jig! Now that would be a cute video!


Mar 17, 2012 01:47 PM
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker Associate ,CRS,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hi Bridget,

I too loved your story...and I can't even imagine what it could have been like for your grandmother coming over here (so far away from home) at the age of 15! My own grandparents also arrived at Ellis Island in 1912 as young married from Holland with a new baby.

A few years ago when I visited Ellis Island it gave me such pride to have those American immigrant roots like so many of us. I hope you get your wish sometime soon to visit Ireland for yourself, it's one of those places I'd love to see myself.

Mar 17, 2012 01:53 PM
Christine Hooks
Pino Agency - Pennsville, NJ
Celebrating 25 Years in Real Estate!

This is by far the BEST post I have read today.  I just loved the story and the photos, too.  My favorite part of all of this is the photo of the 5 sisters, still together after all of those years.  Happy St. Paddy's day to you and yours, Bridget!  What a terrific tale you tell!

Mar 17, 2012 02:15 PM
June Piper-Brandon
Coldwell Banker Realty - Columbia, MD
Creating Generational Wealth Through Homeownership

Bridget, what a great story.  Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

Mar 18, 2012 04:07 AM
Larry Bettag
Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001 - Saint Charles, IL
Vice-President of National Production

My favorite line????  After all these years of trying to get out of Ireland, why would I spend my hard earned money trying to get back???  Really....spoken like a true irishman...or irishwoman.  A lot of my family is still over there!!!!

Apr 03, 2012 02:39 AM