- "The Red Hand of Ulster's a paradox quite,
- To Baronets 'tis said to belong;
- If they use the left hand, they're sure to be right,
- And to use the right hand would be wrong.
- For the Province, a different custom applies,
- And just the reverse is the rule;
- If you use the right hand you'll be right, safe and wise,
- If you use the left hand you're a fool."
My last name "Neary" originates from the the Gaelic "O'Naraigh" that from the North of Connaught Province and means "modest". My mom's maiden name "Crowley" comes from an old story of fighting the Vikings on their invasion of Ireland, thus giving us our name from our victories. Somewhere along the long history of my genealogy there also are "O'Neill's", according to my dad's side. The following is a story told to me by my uncles years back. It is a legend of my family.
According to the myth, The kingdom of Ulster was holding a competition for any Irishman to claim an island that had no rightful heir. The challenge was to join in a boat race and the first one to touch the land would be the winner. So, the many men and my great, great, great, great, great, great? grandfather took on the challenge and began to race. However, when my great*6 grandfather realized he was losing, he couldn't let this opportunity pass him. So he took out a knife, cut off his hand, and threw it onto the shore.
The red hand (shown in red probably due to it being covered in blood) has now become a symbol for all clans of Ulster in Ireland and is represents strong devotion to continuing Irish Gaelic culture.