Hidden Celtic Names for St. Patrick’s Day

May the road rise up to meet you; Irish Blessing

Nearly everyone in the U.S. and beyond loves to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I can tell you that the day is not just about green beer, corned beef and shamrocks, although these symbols are gleefully recognized in the celebration of Irish culture.

For my St. Patrick’s Day post I thought I would introduce my Celtic ancestry. McCune is my mother’s maiden name.

The McCune family is said to be descended from the ancient Irish King Heremon, who invaded Ireland (from Scotland) around the time Alexander the Great was conquering parts of Asia. By the 11th century, the population of Ireland had grown and surnames were required. The original Gaelic form of McCune was MacEoin, or son of Owen.

McCune CrestOver the centuries, as names became more standardized and recorded more accurately, the name morphed into MacKeon. A branch of this Sept settled in county Galway where they owned land in the 16th century. The name eventually became Anglicized into Owen. The surname MacKeon was often rendered MacKown, long associated with people living on Northern Ireland, the descendants of Scottish settlers.

Irish families left Ireland in astonishing numbers during the 18th and 19th centuries in search of a better life, emigrating to Australia and North America. Family names morphed again, with the surname being Keown or Keon. Families with these names showed on passenger lists and arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1855. Once in the states the surnames further blended into McCune, McCuen, and McEwen.

My grandmother’s family names on my father’s side were Mauldin and Shirey. Despite the Scottish influence from the McCune’s side, combining the two families firmly planted me into Scotch-Irish lineage.

Perhaps your family has some hidden Celtic names in your family tree. Or maybe you are just “Irish” at heart.

Renaissance Faire
A silly Renaissance pirate handed me the 2×4 on a rope and told me to “walk the plank.”

Other than an Americanized version of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th, the closest I can get to celebrating my Scotch-Irish Celtic roots are at Renaissance Faires. I love to dress up in garb and can even get my hubby to don pirate’s garb.

I mean what man doesn’t want to attend a faire where he can wear a sword, hoist mugs of ale, and gaze at corseted busts? HUZZAH!!

Take a peek here for a glimpse of the history of St. Patrick!

And may the luck o’ the Irish be with ye!


18 thoughts on “Hidden Celtic Names for St. Patrick’s Day

  1. Surprisingly, it was all but silent here in Sydney on St Patrick’s day. Love you in the ‘walk the plank image’. Great to learn about your heritage. I am Irish on my mom’s side. It seems everyone in the states has a bit of Irish in them :-).

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  2. I am sixty percent Irish and I hate to disappoint you but back in the old country there are much less shenanigans. Nobody would dream of tainting things with green dye. It is still a holy day and people go to Mass. Nonetheless, have fun with the Irish fiesta!

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  3. I loved hearing about your ancestry. I’m part Irish and proud of it! I love that outfit! Wonderful blog here! I subbed and stalked you on all social media lol in a good way of course 🙂 So very nice to meet you!

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  4. I don’t think I have any Irish blood in me… mostly English and German, but I have enjoyed celebrating St Paddy’s Day in the past. I love your Renaissance Faire outfit! In college, I attended the one in L.A. with my boyfriend who performed as a magician. It was a lot of fun.

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  5. Isn’t genealogy fun? My Dad has been doing a lot of digging into our Irish roots. We have distant cousins living in Oughterard in County Galway and a stone cottage that is in the family. Will have to visit some day soon; he’s been there many times.

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