Early in life, I knew a career involving being an entrepreneur, sales, and especially being around people, appeared in the cards for me.
At age 11, I sold a farmer’s wife a bra in the Ladies Dress Shop that my Mum ran in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. So began my entrepreneurial adventure.
Growing up in Lambeg, a small village 8 miles from Belfast, I was reared partly by my Granny McCarthy while my Mum went to work. My Mum and Dad had gone to work early in life with no opportunity for advanced education because of their family circumstances and the outbreak of World War II. Even though my parents didn’t have an abundance of money, there was always food on the table. Great breads, scones and baked goods were always part of my upbringing.
My Dad (Sammy) who loved to sing Irish Ballads (especially after a few bottles of Stout), allowed me a wee spot of Guinness on a Sunday in a tiny glass in front of our fireplace. Typically I was only ever dosed with Whisky Punch for a cold or a toothache. So, I grew up surrounded by the foods and drinks that were typical of Ireland, and it turns out, the ones I’ve wanted to share in my life in the States.
Sports have always been a huge part of my life, and because of my love for them, I managed to get a Grammar School Education by receiving a scholarship (which also enabled me to participate in all the sports I enjoyed). When I first came to the USA to live (following a trans-Atlantic field hockey romance), I was drawn to the idea of importing the things from Ireland and the UK that I missed and saw a need for in the US. Following a period of experimenting with importing tweeds and knitwear for wholesale, I realized there was potential for a business in the Lehigh Valley. The ultimate goal for my wife and I (I’m still married to the local woman, Linda Shay, who played goalie for Lehigh Valley ladies team in the same tournament my team competed in in Toronto back in 1978) was to create a comfortable, friendly, warm atmosphere with a rich cultural experience — as if you were visiting Ireland.
I am here all because of a very brave grandmother who, at age 19, left County Mayo for Ellis Island.
I fold paper Moravian stars for therapy and a wee bit of money.
I love yoga for therapy (and no money).
Speaking of green, I volunteer at the Monocacy Farm Project where we grow healthy vegetables for various food banks. Our group from St Anne Church planted and tends to the broccoli.
I have 3 lovely daughters and one fabulous grandson, who is a treasure beyond words.
When I am not at Donegal, I hang out with my husband and BFF, Al. We love to kayak and hike or just hang out with our friends, Crown Royal and Jameson.
Give me an LA Times Crossword puzzle and some Butler’s Irish chocolate (ok and maybe a wee Jameson) and I am one happy leprechaun.
Growing up, I identified with the Pennsylvania German side of my ancestry. I thought everyone hung a pickle on their Christmas tree! Living in Europe during grad school, I visited Ireland for the first time. That visit sparked an enduring love for the Emerald Isle and its people. I love geeking out on Celtic culture and I’m even learning to speak Irish (not very well at this point).
At Donegal Square, I love being surrounded by Celtic art and culture and buying from artisans in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. After work, the Red Stag Pub is just a few steps away for a “wee drop”. Slainte!
Some of my favorites: family and friends, Cape Cod, flip flops,
cold beer and the Red Sox.
Mariestelle “Marie” McNamara Barry
Longest name ever…. Mariestelle Louise Ann McNamara Barry. (Vowel anyone?) The oldest child of seven!!! (No explanation required.) Although we are scattered about, my family is very important to me.
Best day of my life was when my son Sean was born on March 16th, 2000.
Love (love) did I say “love” music — various genres, especially “Celtic” music!!
Studied piano for eight years and sang in my church choir for over 10 years.
Big supporter of PBS — a “Downton Abbey” forever fan.
Enjoy watching and traveling to sporting events with Sean, family and friends — especially baseball in the summertime! ESPN was the first word Sean learned. (ha!)
Love to make people around me laugh, puns are fun!!! #humor #sillygirl #laugh It’s good for the soul!
Thanks to a co-worker and McCarthy’s Red Pub Stag crew, I appreciate a good whiskey, “in the jar!!”
After work, it can be difficult at times to turn down an offer to have a pint — here or over the pond!! Guinness girl!!
Ireland truly has 40 shades of green-a captivating magical land. So thankful of any time I have travelled there, experienced the culture, and all the connections I’ve made along by the way. ❤️
“By the sea, by the sea, always a place I love to be….”star of the sea”, that’s me!!” (Marie: Sea Stelle: Star) Thanks Mom & Dad!
Did I mention my love of all things candy and whoever invented sea salt caramels? I love you! And, the Cadbury from the U.K. and Ireland is truly the best!
Closely connected to a wonderful group of girls I know and love for over 38 years. What a blessing to have them in my life.
One other very important ingredient to my life: My role in managing Donegal Square — my celtic family — since 1989, and every Celtic Classic (30th year 2017). Slainte!!
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