Irish eyes were smiling on Sat., Feb. 2 as the Irish American Parade Committee gathered at St. Patrick’s auditorium in Bay Ridge to celebrate this year’s slate of honorees for the upcoming parade in Park Slope.
The Irish-American Parade Committee’s 44th annual installation brought together over 300 community leaders, friends and their families to recognize formally the honorees who will be leading the Park Slope parade.
It’s the oldest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Brooklyn and will kick off at noon on Sun., Mar.17 at 15th Street and Prospect Park West.
Bernadette Buckley Kash, of the Buckley School of Irish Dance, was named the 2019 parade grand marshal.
Kash was introduced to loud cheers from the audience as an outstanding representative of the Irish culture. “Back in 1975, I marched in the very first Park Slope parade and I’m blessed to have marched in every one since,” she said. “My family celebrated being Irish 12 months of the year. It was our way of life.”
The aides to the grand marshal this year are John Brennan, Christopher Coughlin, Ann Duffy Dolan, Rita Donlon, Martin Dunne, James Hart, Scott Richard Lloyd, Audrey Mullins and Mary Nolan.
Guests enjoyed an evening filled with Irish food, live music and dancing. This year’s parade will be held in memory of past grand marshals John Riordan (2009) and William J. Burke (1991) and the parade’s theme is a salute to Irish dance. The parade is always held in remembrance of the heroes and victims of 9/11.
“The 44th Annual Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Parade Installation Dance was a huge success due to the honorees, Grand Marshal Bernadette Buckley Kash and nine aides to the grand marshal. Each has contributed to their faith, their Irish heritage and their community. It was a packed house and a grand time was had by all,” Parade chair Mary Hogan told this paper.
Kathleen McDonagh, one of the parade’s founding members, said that the annual event is a salute to Irish culture, particularly on this side of the Atlantic. “We pay tribute to the Irish for their vast contributions to the church, to the borough, the city, the state and the nation,” she told this paper.
McDonagh also explained the significance of where the parade is held. “It’s where the Irish met in the 1930s. They all came together in Prospect Park on Donegal Hill. They came from Bay Ridge, Downtown Brooklyn and Flatbush. They named the hill after their home in County Donegal. They brought their parents and all their kids and it became a kind of meeting place for them. We also have a bench at the park side dedicated to those Irish immigrants,” she added.