By ANGIE CARNATHAN
Hannah Proctor, a Mississippi State University student and Tennessee native, was the 2012 Irish Rose by the Golden Triangle Celts. The title was previously held by Maureen Hughes of Starkville.
The Golden Triangle Celts will honor Proctor’s new title with a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Mugshots Bar and Grill tonight. Hannah Jones, 11, will sing “Danny Boy” and the Back Porch Pickers will perform. Proctor will deliver a monologue about Irish folklore fairies.
Proctor said she was first introduced to the Golden Triangle Celts by her professor, Shalyn Claggett.
“After being recommended by my professor, I became involved with the Golden Triangle Celts and accepted the Irish Rose title,” Proctor said. “It’s very exciting to become involved with this organization and to be honored with such a position.”
Proctor said her Irish heritage has always been close to her heart and she is proud to have the opportunity to honor it.
“My Irish heritage traces back to both my mother’s and father’s families,” Proctor said. “My seventh great-grandfather on my mother’s side was Hugh McKee, who lived in County Downs, Ireland around 1690. I descend from his grandson, David McKee.”
Proctor said David and his wife emigrated to Ohio with their seven children in the latter part of the 19th century.
“On my father’s side, my third great-grandfather, John Proctor, emigrated to North Carolina from County Cork, Ireland during the Great Famine,” Proctor said. “He purchased land there that he farmed and eventually somehow lost. My family is unsure of how the land was lost, but we suspect it’s value was liquidated during the Civil War. He eventually settled in White Bluff, Tenn., where there are still Proctors living today who are of his descent.”
Proctor said she has always had a fascination with her Irish heritage since she was young. As a child, Proctor said she dreamed of one day going to Ireland, and in the summer of 2009, that dream came true.
“When I was 19 years old, I received a three month long internship in Dublin, Ireland at a solicitors office named McDowell-Purcell,” Proctor said. “During my stay in Dublin, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the Irish culture and to explore both Ireland and Northern Ireland. It truly was a life-changing experience that continues to impact my life today.”
Proctor said her internship’s office was located in downtown Dublin –– a short walk from the Four Courts, the legal center of the country. Proctor said she encountered the rare opportunity to observe Irish culture as it faced the 2009 economic downturn.
“Whether I was interacting with a taxi driver or with a solicitor, I witnessed immense resilience and admirable endurance in the people of Ireland,” Proctor said. “The country has always been close to my heart, but after briefly living there, it is even more so and always will be.”
Proctor is currently a senior at MSU studying English literature. She intends on pursuing nursing school immediately after graduation. While at MSU, Proctor has spent much of her free time with the Lab Rats Comedy Troupe.
“I have enjoyed very much my time in Starkville, both for its southern culture and for my college experience here,” Proctor said. “Most of my free time during the last three and a half years in Starkville went to improvisational theater. I joined Lab Rats Comedy Troupe my freshman year and am very thankful for my time spent with those wonderful people and for my time learning about the unique theatrical art form of improv.”
Proctor said she also enjoys partaking in visual arts such as drawing and painting, along with playing the banjo.
“I’m not the best banjo player, but I enjoy practicing it nonetheless,” Proctor said.
Proctor said serving as the Irish Rose means having the opportunity to respect and to represent her Irish heritage in a very exciting way.
“Irish culture and heritage is important in the lives of many Americans, and I’m honored the Golden Triangle Celts chose me for this title and that I can continue to incorporate my Irish heritage into my life,” Proctor said.
Proctor said along with the customs of Ireland, she also misses the food.
“During my time in both Ireland and Northern Ireland I saw Irish brown bread everywhere — in restaurants, cafes and even convenient stores sometimes,” Proctor said. “I haven’t been able to find it anywhere else. It’s hearty, rich and very delicious.”