This is my Irish great-grandmother, Annie Abigail Bryan. Her nickname was ‘Babe”. She lived with my dad’s family when he was about 12 years old. He remembers she always wore a long black dress and sat in a rocker day in and day out. She and her husband, Jim Owen, called dad “Cliffy Boy”. He would escort his grandmother to the table for supper, and Jim Owen would always ask the blessing. She told all her grandkids she was born in Ireland. Her father was Ashley Bryan, born around 1813, and her mother was Abigail Harris. Dad said when he would come in from the field, he would ask Granny how her day had gone. “Oh,” she would reply, “I just sot here and sot here.” I have never been able to determine just when and where Annie Bryan was born. Every census tells a different story. I dearly wish she had shared other stories about her family.
As this is St. Patrick’s Day, I will honor my ancestors, Annie Abigail Bryan, and her father, Ashley Bryan, with some Celtic songs that are so beautiful I play them often, even when it’s not St. Patrick’s Day. The first one is “The Star of the County Down” by Slainte. Maybe in her day Annie Abigail was a sweet colleen who caught the young men’s eyes. These songs are by the group “Slainte”, and none better to sing them. You’ll have to click on the YouTube thingy to hear the songs. The first song has a long lead-in, but wait for the song, it’s worth it. The second song is “Fear a Bhata” about a young lady waiting for her fisherman love to come home because he promised her a gold ring and a tartan wedding dress. She waits and waits, but the boat never returns. The third song is “Wild Mountain Thyme”, to pick wild mountain thyme all around the blooming heather – will ye go, Lassie, go? Anyway, it’s Celtic.