St. Patrick’s Parade honorees get sashes

Irish eyes are sure to be smiling wide again as the Brooklyn Irish American Parade Committee holds its 49th annual Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day Parade and celebration on Sunday, March 17, while the Big Apple holds its Manhattan parade on Saturday, March 16. There will be a pre-parade ceremony at 1 p.m. at Bartel-Pritchard Square, Prospect Park West, in memory of the heroes and victims of 9/11 at the World Trade Center. The Brooklyn parade committee says they will be remembered at every parade. 

The Clann Eireann Pipe Band.

The theme of this year’s march is the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Ireland. The parade will step off at 1:30 p.m., proceeding down 15th Street, then moving along Seventh Avenue to Garfield Place and then over to and along Prospect Park West and back to 15th Street. Founded in 1975, it is Brooklyn’s oldest St. Patrick’s Day march. Prominent attorney Gerard L. Keogh is the 2024 grand marshal. Parade co-chairmen are Michelle Brennan-Conlon and Mary Hogan.

Grand Marshal Gerard Keogh.

On Feb. 10, the parade committee held a sashing ceremony and dance in the auditorium of St. Patrick’s Catholic Academy, Fourth Avenue and 97th Street. Irish tenor John Houlihan, accompanied by Randy Litz on the guitar, sang Ireland’s national anthem, “Amhran na bhFiann” (“The Soldier’s Song”). Father Lawrence Ryan, the parade chaplain and pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, gave the invocation.

Randy Litz plays guitar as John Houlihan sings the national anthem.

Michael Mahoney, a former Irish broadcaster and longtime member of the parade committee, announced each parade honoree as they walked into the auditorium and through a line of Clann Eireann Pipers flanking each side, with a hearty round of applause from the audience.  

Michael Mahoney announces the honorees.

In addition to GM Keogh, the aides to the GM sashed were Raymond Aalbue (aide-at-large, chairman of the Brooklyn Memorial  Day Parade); Maureen Byrne O’Neill (principal of P.S. 56, Bronx); Chris Hart (piper, Clann Eireann Pipe Band); Brian Laffey (NYPD officer, 78th Precinct); Liam Flaherty (FDNY Emerald Society); Deirdre O’Hea (United Irish Counties Association of New York); Randy Litz (Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division #12, Bay Ridge), and Barbara Wasserman (Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division #19, Gerritsen Beach). Mary Hogan, a former national president of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians and 2016 grand marshal, pinned the parade sashes on each honoree.

Ray Aalbue and friends of the United Veterans of Kings County.

Bay Ridge’s 29th St. Patrick’s Day Parade is coming up on Sunday, March 24, at 1 p.m.

Celebrants and supporters pack the room for the sashing ceremony.
John Houlihan sings the Irish national anthem.

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