In recognition of the upcoming St. Patty’s Day holiday, we wanted to introduce you to the Irish heritage that is a part of our office culture. With Fightin’ Irish fans and touches of green around 16 N. State Street, there’s no shortage of Irish pride throughout the year. But the affinity for green runs much deeper than football and flags.
John Gibbons, managing partner of Allied Financial Consultants, LLP, has an interesting and rich Irish heritage. As a first-generation American, John maintains strong ties to the family roots in County Mayo, Ireland. John’s mother grew up on a farm located in Ballinrobe – a thriving market town that is one of the oldest in County Mayo.
When asked to share a memory or story about his heritage, John fondly recalled a trip in 2003. Making good on a promise to his mother, John and group of 38 people made the pilgrimage to Ireland to visit the family farm. While in Ireland, the group traveled the entire West Coast of the country, taking in iconic sites like Coagh Patrick. Making the journey up The Holy Mountain is a tradition that has been observed for 5,000 years. At once a gathering area in pagan tradition to celebrate the harvest, the Coagh Patrick is renowned for the Patrician Pilgrimage in honor of Saint Patrick. The summit is the site of Saint Patrick’s 40 day fast.
Taking part in this cultural and spiritual tradition were moving experiences for the Gibbons family. However; John will tell you that nothing could compare to the significance of reaching the family farm in Ballinrobe. The farm, still owned and maintained by his cousin Mattie, was the highlight of the trip. Seeing where his mother grew up and where his grandparents, Tom and Catherine Cavanaugh, were laid to rest are cherished memories.
You’ll often see John sporting the occasional Ireland-themed tie or wielding a shillelagh for a few laughs. It is that kind of spirit that brings a legacy hard work and the importance of family to our offices. As a humorous aside, it’s worth noting that the author of this article was denied access to any information on how to make the family’s Irish Soda Bread or Irish Coffee. The author would expect nothing less from the kind of people that cherish their family and understand the sanctity of a grandmother’s secret recipe!