When Auntie Shea came from Ireland, she only spoke Gaelic . She found her way to Bloody Plank Road by going from firehouse to firehouse and asking directions. ( She apparently discovered that at least one fireman was a recent Irish immigrant, who spoke Gaelic, or they could point to someone in the community familiar with Gaelic.)
Steve’s family saw their Auntie Shea as more than a relative; she embodied the sense of place , stories , magic , religious fervor, aphorisms, and arcane powers of Ireland. It seemed that only women of Irish descent had these powers, which may have come from Viking lore or Druidic traditions. She knew how to apply the secret knowledge to keep the evil spirits at bay and was rarely baffled by anything, whether it was tragic or comic , that could knock someone’s life off course. She seemed to always have a ready explanation to cover good , sad , or bad news ; and in Irish neighborhoods , there was a surfeit of the latter two. As anyone familiar with these Irish female shamans knows , they can deal with anything . There was always a pinch of salt to be thrown , a saying that fit the moment, or an appropriate prayer to beseech guardian angels or the saints to help in time of need .
–Steve Hannagan: Prince of the Press Agents and Titan of Modern Public Relations by Michael K. Townsley