Kelley Ashby PaulGage Skidmore/Creative Commons

Kelley Ashby Paul, the wife of U.S. Republican Sen. Rand Paul, shared a sweet story about her Irish grandmother while speaking to the Logan County Republican Women’s Club in her hometown of Russellville, KY last week.

Paul was in town to promote her new book, “True and Constant Friends,” which will be published in April.

According to, Paul told the group how she carried her grandmother’s purse to a White House Christmas party 15 years after her grandmother died. She said that when she saw the bag glittering in the lights, she knew her grandmother, Julia O’Toole, was smiling down on her.

“After all, she had an abiding faith in the possibilities of this country,” she said. “Her optimism, her belief that with hard work, faith, perseverance and a great attitude anything can happen, those are quintessential American beliefs, and they are the legacy of Julia O’Toole, my Irish blessing.”

Paul said her grandmother, who immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland in 1929, is the “centerpiece” of her new book.

She spoke about how her grandmother moved to New York, where she served as a live-in maid for some of the city’s wealthy families.

Paul said one year, her grandmother went to The Salvation Army to get donated coats for her children when the family was going through a rough time. Although it was difficult for her grandmother to accept charity, the next Thanksgiving she got her children up early and took them out to ring the bell for the group.

“That was the pride of my grandmother and the work ethic of her entire generation,” Kelley Paul said. “You could not hold your head high without hard work.”