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Irish share blarney with the world today

  "Sure it's the same old shillelagh me brought from Ireland…" Or so the old Irish song goes.
On this St. Patrick's Day, how about a look at one of the many Irish families in the Creston area? Agnes McCann of Creston, an Irishwoman with naught but Irish ancestors, agreed to share a bit of her Irish history.
  McCann, whose maiden name was McEniry, has extensive family records which include the stories of her immigrant great-grandparents. That story repeated itself many times during the 1800s, and the Creston area is populated with a number of Irish families.
  "It can't have been a pleasant trip," said McCann of her great-grandfather's journey. William McEniry, born in County Cork, Ireland, set sale for America in 1840.
He returned to Ireland and married Elizabeth Coughlin, also of County Cork, in 1847. The newlyweds braved the rough seas and returned to America where they settled in Rock Island, Ill.
  One of their six children, McCann's grandfather on her father's side, was Michael Frances McEniry. He married an Irishwoman named Margaret Slattery. The original version of the name McEniry was McHenry.
  McCann's mother's heritage is equally Irish. Her great-grandparents were natives of County Clare, Ireland. Catherine O'Day cane to America in 1861 and lived with a half-brother until her marriage in 1866 to Daniel Mack.
  One of their children, McCann's grandfather, John Watson Mack, married Margaret Marie Kehoe. They settled in the Corning area where Mack operated an implement business.
  More Irish names appear with McCann's parents, Eugene F. McEniry and Margarite Mack. Her late husband, Eugene, was the son of Neal McCann and Mary Sullivan.
  McCann's family is rich in the traditional Irish Catholic heritage. "There are lots of Patricks, Mary Margarets, Colleens, and Bridgets in our family," she said.
  Her grandfather, according to family history, was described in a fairly typical Irish description of the times. "Mr. McEniry," the history reads, "was identified with the Democratic party and belonged to the Roman Catholic Church."
  "You can't get much more Irish than that," said McCann. In Irish, the name McEniry means solitary. In ancient Irish it is spelled Enrach.
  McCann returned to her roots in 1977 when she traveled to Ireland with a group of 11 tourists from Creston. "There really are 40 shades of green in Ireland," she said.
  She kissed the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle for "good luck and the gift of gab." Luck is prerequisite for kissing the stone. McCann said it's located at the top of the castle and kissers must lean far out and away from the wall to kiss the stone.
  Legend has it that people kissed the stone as practice for flattery of others.
  As far as Irish luck is concerned, McCann says she's been lucky. She has three children, Steve McCann and his wife Jane and Tom McCann and wife Mary, all of Creston and Mary Margaret McCann of Boston, Mass. She has six grandchildren.
  "There are two kinds of people," she said, "those who are Irish -- and those who wish they were!'
(Creston News Advertiser, by Rita Miller, March 17, 1989)

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