Galway granny evokes Irish American’s prize-winning Guinness toast


Maryland man Tom Ponton scooped up a cool $50k from Guinness again in March for his authentic St. Patrick’s Day toast, which was impressed by his Co Galway native grandmother Margaret Mulkerins Coakley.

Ponton was one of many first winners within the Guinness Nice Reunion Toast contest, which was marketed right here on IrishCentral in partnership with Guinness.

Thomas took on the check and gained $50K within the Nice Reunion Toast contest! Watch what it feels wish to be a winner with Guinness. #GuinnessStPats #ToastWithGuinness

— Guinness US (@GuinnessUS) March 18, 2022

Ponton, 54, tells IrishCentral that upon receiving his prize again in March, one of many presenters informed him: “It was such as you had been born to win this contest.”

Now, the proud Irish American is eager to share the story of his beloved Galway grandmother who was the inspiration behind his award-winning toast.

Beneath are Tom Ponton’s phrases about his Irish granny and the way she impressed his award-winning toast. Cheers, Tom!

I wished to share with you all a bit about my grandmother, whom we referred to as Gommy, as her birthday (July 10) is approaching, in addition to the anniversary of the date she arrived in America (July 12, 1920).

My grandmother was from Moycullen, Co Galway. She was the youngest of 12 and got here to America at age 22, following the trail of some of her older sisters. She settled in Washington, DC, and shortly met a “good-looking” (her phrases) man from Skibbereen, Co Cork, by the title of Connie Coakley.

Collectively they raised a household of three however sadly, Connie died unexpectedly in 1947. My grandmother wanted to do one thing to recover from her grief. She started taking in Irish immigrants into her residence, a follow she continued even into the Nineteen Sixties, once I had come alongside, as by then she lived subsequent door to us in a metropolis in Maryland (Hyattsville) simply outdoors of Washington, DC. 

My grandmother was a really social particular person and, very often, an informal Sunday afternoon tea together with her sisters and Irish neighbors would morph right into a full-grown occasion with the tea changed within the night by whiskey and beer.

Within the earliest phases of my reminiscence, I can recall the group of them in a circle wherein every would sing their chosen tune. Danny McAuliffe would grace us with “The Street By The River that Flows By way of Raheen” and Mike Quine would sing “Previous Ballymoe.” John Barry was identified for “Patsy Fagan” and my grandmother’s trademark tune was “My Personal Pricey Galway Bay.”

Watching all of this as a younger boy was fascinating. I had no concept on the time of what a treasure I used to be witnessing. (Does anybody do that anymore? Have TV, cell telephones, and video video games taken all of it away?)

So it was on this setting that I used to be raised. My dad and mom beloved The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and virtually each evening, a unique album can be performed on the outdated scratchy report participant that sat outdoors of our kitchen. It is humorous how I realized these songs by osmosis with out even concentrating on what was being performed as we ate dinner every evening.

As for my grandmother, I distinctly bear in mind speaking together with her on her birthday one 12 months once I was older. She informed me she had lived an awesome life and had no worry of loss of life in anyway. I recalled her sentiments one snowy February morning in 1982 when I discovered her slumped over on her sofa, her time having handed. I wrote about this second as soon as in a tribute:

“Margaret handed away in winter

Tea cup by her facet

A easy finish to a easy life

In light peace she died

She owned no banks or fancy vehicles

No workplace did she maintain

Nevertheless it’s of us like Margaret I am going to recall

As I actually develop outdated”

Shortly after my grandmother died, I used to be given her cherished Claddagh ring. The ring was given to her by her mom on a go to again to Eire. It was the final time the 2 noticed one another. It was her mom’s marriage ceremony ring courting again to 1874. It’s a everlasting fixture on my hand.

So my grandmother was the particular person chargeable for a lot of my love of Irish music and tradition and the rationale why I write lyrics and toasts and what have you ever.

My successful entry truly borrows a bit from Yeats (“When You Are Previous”) and Tommy Makem (“Rambles of Spring”):

“So once we return once more

Might our foes and have turned to associates

And will peace and pleasure 

Be with you till then”

The toast was a part of a tune I wrote that makes enjoyable of the blarney that you simply usually hear throughout eulogies at funerals. (For the report, I’m high quality with colourful exaggerations). However I wished the ending to have a lower than cynical tone. For my successful toast, I needed to modify the ultimate two strains as the competition was searching for some point out of St. Patrick’s Day. Right here it’s:

“Whenever you’re outdated and grey and doze by the hearth

And you’ve got one final glass earlier than your retire

It isn’t about wealth however the seeds you could have sown

To the folks you’ve got beloved and the buddies you could have identified.

So let’s increase a glass to our household and associates

And to those that oppose us let’s make amends

For there isn’t any use in cryin’, It isn’t a protracted keep

I am not one for me lyin’, Joyful St. Patrick’s Day!”

And to my late grandmother, I say, Sláinte!

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