Mc or Mac...Celebrating our Irish Heritage

By Sandra Sylvester | Mar 14, 2015

Knox County — (I bring you the weekly blog early so that you can find out about the celebration and parade in Portland on March 15, tomorrow, which you might like to participate in. See below for details.)

I like many people always thought that anyone with a Mc in their name was Irish and anyone with a Mac in their name was Scottish. From what I’ve just found out in my research, that is not true. According to a reference I can’t quote from because of copyright infringement, Mc is simply an abbreviated form of Mac and they are interchangeable as far as a Scottish or Irish heritage goes. In other words you can find such names in both Ireland and Scotland.

If anyone out there disputes what I’ve just said in the above paragraph, I would welcome your input. You can email me at

I grew up with quite a few Irish people in my environment. Some of the names I mention here may in fact be Scottish, after what I have just discovered, but here goes anyway. I apologize ahead of time if I have put your name in the incorrect heritage pool.

The names I’m most familiar with growing up in Rockland, Maine are Flanagan, Molloy, Macintosh, McKinney, Sullivan; and the Os, O’Sullivan and O’Brien. In high school we had a teacher named Kenneth MacDougal and a basketball coach named McGuire.

We had many businesses with Irish, or again, perhaps Scottish names:

McLoon, MacPhail, McCarty, McLain, McMahon, and McRae. Of course one of those names, McLain, was the name of one of our grammar schools up next to the high school on Lincoln Street.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we have discovered that my family does indeed have Irish ancestors. It’s said that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and now I can truly say I am at least part Irish. My Irish ancestors have the last names of: Calderwood, McCurdy, Kilpatrick, Kelloch or Kellough, Robinson, and Fitzpatrick. I expect you will find more than one of these names in a local phone book in the area.

Maine Irish Heritage Center

If you would like to learn more about Maine’s Irish Heritage, you can visit the Maine Irish Heritage Center in Portland. There is a map to guide you to the center on their Facebook page. The center was formerly the St. Dominic’s Catholic Church.

If you’d like to know more about activities at the center, see their Facebook Page, Maine Irish Heritage Center. Thanks go out to Tim Sullivan for directing me to this page. It has been very helpful.

Celebrate our Irish Heritage in Portland on Sunday, March 15.

If you would like to celebrate your Irish heritage with other Irishmen, check out the parade on Commercial Street in Portland, tomorrow, March 15. Here’s what they have to say about it on Facebook:

“St. Pat’s Parade on Commercial Street at noon. Parade begins at the Fish Pier at noon and proceeds east on Commercial Street, ending at Bellbuoy Park. The Irish American Club and the Main Irish Heritage Center invite you to warm up after the parade with lots of food, fun, music, dancing at the MIHC from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone and thanks for listening to this partly Irish writer.






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