The Ford Amphitheater at the Coney Island Boardwalk was packed with Irish-American culture and heritage on Saturday, September 16, as the Irish American Building Society (IABS) hosted its 36th Annual Great Irish Fair.
The festivities kicked off around 10 a.m., with a mass, followed by a ceremony at 11 a.m. and live entertainment performances at noon. The sounds of traditional and contemporary Irish tunes from local Irish bands filled the amphitheater, along with food, pubs, dancing, children’s activities and Irish goodies.
“It was a beautiful day in Coney Island,” said IABS President Martin Cottingham. “This is an important event in our community that brings together folks from near and far to celebrate our Irish heritage and the amazing impact of our honorees.”
And there were honorees aplenty. Among them were State Senator Marty Golden, who was presented with the Al O’Hagan Community Leadership Award. Other honorees included Jim F. O’Dea for Chief Brehon; Caitlin Ward for The Colleen Queen; S. Marie Mackey for Kathleen Slattery Woman of the Year; Father Robert Lauder for the Bishop Joseph Sullivan Memorial Award; Edward C. O’Callaghan for the St. Thomas More Award; Frank Schorn for the Paul O’Dwyer Memorial Award; Franciscan Father Brian Jordan for the Father Mychal Judge O.F.M. Memorial Award; Gerard Fitzgerald for the Captain Timothy Stackpole Memorial Award; Michael Gibbons for the Captain Timothy Stackpole Memorial Award; Michael Gibbons for the Thomas Cuite Memorial Award; Mary Hogan for The Round Tower Award; Coach Donald Kent for The Celtic Cross Award and Detective Brian Curley for the Patrolman Edward Byrne Memorial Award.
According to IABS, the Great Irish Fair of New York began in 1982, “as an annual family friendly event celebrating Irish culture and heritage in this, the greatest city in the world.”