Why did I blog about the 7 Celtic Nations?

I blogged about the 7 Celtic Nations because it is my intent to visit, and play traditional music in, each of them before my end of days.  I have been to Ireland, so I have six more to go. I wish I still had pictures of my trip to Ireland.  I went there in the 1990s before the internet, before the Cloud and I've moved so many times that I've simply misplaced that box of pictures.  Perhaps my ex has some that she wouldn't mind sharing with me.   I've never been to Spain, but I have been to France - just not Brittany.  I've been to England, but not Cornwall or Wales.  I've never been to Scotland, even though my ancestors are from there originally.

 I've always wondered about the Nordish part of my DNA.  When I submitted my saliva to 23 and Me more than a decade ago, I was elated when the results came back: small percentages from each of the 7 celtic nations!  It makes perfect sense that anybody with Nordish DNA would also have DNA from the other Celtic nations as the Vikings raped and pillared their way across them for generations.  They were the early homogenizers. 

My Mother's Father, Thomas Kielty, a sergeant in WWI, was born in Sligo and emigrated to the US with his parents around the turn of the 20th century.  They were not poor Irish and did not come over to settle in the slums of New York.  They were middle-class.  His father owned a publishing house in Dublin.  Among the many things they published were Encyclopedias, which he peddled until the day he died.  From all accounts, he was a dashingly handsome man with jet black hair and brown eyes.  He smoked cigars and drank whiskey.  He died when my mother was young and her mother never remarried.  Her Mother, Eula Reeves, was part German and part English.  Her parents were Presbyterian.  Her father was a minister in Palmyra.  He was a brutal man who took his anger out on his children and wife.  Grandmother left home as soon as she could, at the age of 14, to go study Latin and German in New York City.  She became one of the youngest teachers at 15, at Hewlett High and stayed there until she was 85!

My Father's Father, Richard Sweet, was born in Princeton, NJ.  He was a surgeon at the MGH in Boston and also taught at the Harvard Medical School.  His wife, Elizabeth Merry grew up in Duxbury.  Her Father was the town Fire Chief and Butcher.  She was the oldest of 9 siblings.  She was sent to learn nursing at an eye doctor's office in Brookline where she met my Grandfather.  The Merry's were Tories who fled to Nova Scotia during the Revolutionary War.  The Merry's came over on one of the ships that followed the Mayflower, led by Myles Standish, who is related somehow (I'm unclear about that detail).  Grandpa Merry came down from NS to work for an Uncle who was the town butcher.  He volunteered to go to war during the Civil War and came back a Sergeant.  He was good with men and horses.  I learned lots of stories about him, but the one I like most is a story about how he rescued a man from a burning house.  Back then there was no Fire Department.  There were no paved roads, no electricity, no running water, none of that.  If your house caught fire, you might have time to get everyone out before it went up in flames, but that was it.  Grandpa was out delivering meat in the Butcher wagon when he came upon a house burning.  He heard someone screaming inside.  He unhitched one of the horses, big huge Belgian animals, hopped on it bareback and rode it into the burning house.  He was so good with animals that this horse trusted him and did what he wanted.  Grandpa found a man inside who was singed but mostly scared.  He pulled him up on the horse's back and rode back out.  He hitched the horse back up to the cart and went on his way.  A few weeks later, he received a letter from the Duxbury town council who wanted him to attend a meeting.  Baffled, he went and was awarded for saving the man's life, an important member of the council.  He was appointed Fire Chief and asked to put together a fire brigade.  His team won many medals over the years and was the first fire department!

The Sweets emigrated to Massachusetts from Wales in 1630.  They landed in Salem and were given land in New Bedford where they lived for a few generations.  Young Isaac Sweet went to Rhode Island to live with the Wampanoags, and learn their medicine.  The Sweets were ship builders and bone setters, interested in surgery and medicine.  Isaac was called to the bedside of a prominent member of the Providence council's daughter.  She had been sick for weeks.  He had been taught how to treat fever and "consumption" by the native Americans and was able to bring her back to normal within a couple of days.  He was given a certificate designating him as "Doctor Isaac Sweet" from the Providence City Council.  I still have the certificate in my parent's library.  He was one of the first doctors in the New World.  Since then, there has been a doctor in every generation of Sweet in my family. 

I'd love to go to the other Celtic Nations.  I don't know when I will be able to go, but I hope to go soon.  I'll be 57 in May and time's running out.

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