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McDonough’s Irish roots make him a prime selection for St. Patrick XXII

NATCHEZ — When Pat McDonough first started marching in the Krewe of Killarney he was leading his two sons — just an infant and a toddler at the time — in a green-themed wagon behind him.

“When they were really little we had (wagons) with the sides, so they couldn’t escape,” McDonough said.

Twenty-two years later, McDonough will lead a bigger family — the entire Krewe of Killarney — down the streets as he serves as St. Patrick XXII.

McDonough is the fourth first-born son in his family named “Patrick McDonough,” with his son — now college-aged — being the fifth in the long line of Irish men.

For years McDonough was referred to as “Little Pat,” and his father was “Big Pat.” But since his son goes by “Patrick,” it makes things much simpler.

“We dropped the big-little,” McDonough said.

And if being Irish, Catholic and carrying the name “Pat” doesn’t give him enough street cred to reign in green at Saturday’s parade, his occupation should seal the deal.

McDonough is the owner of a liquor store, McDonough Wine and Spirits in Vidalia.

“I started back there (in the liquor business) as early as 1985,” McDonough said.

His grandfather had a shop in Mobile, Ala., then Tallulah, La., McDonough said.

“I went to Vidalia to set up a whisky warehouse there,” McDonough said.

Though he hasn’t been to Ireland yet, a trip to the homeland is on the bucket list. And McDonough said he is an avid collector of all things Irish. Aside from just whisky and flags, his collectibles include Irish crystal and linens, McDonough said.

McDonough said behind Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day is his favorite holiday, and he looks forward to ridding the town of snakes, especially since snakes are a phobia of his mother, Rose Godfrey.

Legend explains that St. Patrick ridded Ireland of snakes when he put an end to many pagan practices in the country. And McDonough said he looks forward to playing his role in giving back to the community.

The Krewe of Killerney raises funds each year to help Pleasant Acre Day School and Holy Family School, as well as to award scholarships to graduating seniors from the five area high schools.

“In the end it’s such an honor to (be selected as St. Patrick) and to be able to give back,” McDonough said.

McDonough and his wife Debra have two sons, Patrick and Joseph.

In addition to the Krewe of Killarney, McDonough is a member of the Santa Claus committee, the Natchez and Vidalia chambers of commerce and the Knights of Columbus.

McDonough said he likes how the Krewe of Killarney marches on foot. That way, everyone can partake in the fun, even if their families aren’t, like his, descended from the Irish cities of Cork on his mother’s side and Galway on his father’s side.

First Presbyterian Church Pastor the Rev. Denny Read will play the bagpipes during the parade, and a reception will follow at Bowie’s Tavern.

“Everyone can walk in it, you don’t have to be a member,” McDonough said.

“Everybody can be Irish for one day.”