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A St Patrick’s Day to Remember for Celtic House B&B

Angela and John have enjoyed welcoming guests to Celtic House B&B for many years and have hosted visitors from all over the world in the heart of Kilkenny City.

A Knock at the Door

A knock on the door 17 years ago changed their lives forever. Angela answered the door to James J Whelan and his daughter Kathleen who were visiting from San Diego, California, USA. Angela and John really hit it off with their guests and learned that James was looking to find his ancestral home. Host Angela has a passion for genealogy and after a short time on her computer, she learned that James’ ancestors hailed from Roscrea in Tipperary and Co. Cork. James was so grateful for this information.

Angela and her dear friend James

Irish Congress

On his return to America, James kept in contact with his new friends. Little did Angela and John know how well connected and important James was in San Diego. He was actually the president of the Irish Congress! A few months after his return, Angela received a phone call from James asking them would they travel to San Diego and represent Ireland in the biggest St Patrick’s Parade west of the Mississippi. Angela and John were delighted, but didn’t know what the protocol was for such events. “I’ll have to check with our Taoiseach Bertie Ahern (Ireland’s Prime Minister at the time)” said Angela.

A St Patrick’s Day to Remember for Celtic House B&B

A Letter to Bertie

Angela wrote a letter to the Taoiseach and explained that she and her husband had been invited to represent Ireland in the San Diego St Patrick’s Day parade. She received a wonderful reply from Mr Ahern giving his blessing and to send his best wishes to everyone in San Diego.

Angela and John left their Bed & Breakfast in good hands and headed on a trip of a lifetime. On arrival to San Diego, they were treated like celebrities and even appeared on American TV and loved every minute of taking part in the St Patrick’s Parade as honoured guests.

Celtic House B&B, Kilkenny City

Celebrity Status

Since 2004, the B&B hosts have gone back to San Diego every year around St Patrick’s Day and have even branched out into TV shows, Rotary and Book clubs. They are always welcomed like celebrities and have made many friends along the way. They even have honorary citizenship in San Diego. Their mission is always to promote Ireland to everyone they meet. In March 2018 they were responsible for getting the famous Hotel de Coronado to go green for St Patrick’s Day.

Angela and John take part in the San Dieo St Patrick's Day parade

Fond Memories

Angela and John will always have fond memories of the friendship they shared with James who sadly passed away in 2017, at the age of 85 years. It’s amazing to think that a conversation and an interest in genealogy would change their lives forever. Sadly there will be no visit to San Diego to represent Ireland this year, but they look forward to returning when restrictions are lifted. “The Irish Congress are like family and I am truly blessed in life”, says Angela. Some people only get to dream about a trip of a life time, but we’ve had many and feel very grateful to have met someone as special as James, our American visitor.

Celtic House B&B, Kilkenny City

Posted: 15 Mar 2021 by Claire Regan | with 0 comments

Tags: St Patrick's Day

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