By MIKE LEE
On a rainy Friday night, a crowd of hardy souls braved the first of the two Nor’easters that had struck New York City to celebrate the courage and determination of Irish Americans at the 26th annual Irish Heritage Celebration, held at union headquarters on March 2.
DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido took note of the contributions of Irish workers to the labor movement in the United States.
“Each ethnic group that immigrates to America faces its own challenges and harsh realities,”Garrido said. “The resilient Irish people were no exception.”
As the storm raged outside, the members and guests at the gathering were treated with fine food and inspiring words from FDNY Chaplin Father Chris Keenan, a member of Local 299.
“ While this is when we celebrate the heritage of the Irish people,” Father Keenan said. “We celebrate the heritage of all of us.”
Barbara Edmonds, DC 37’s director of field services, also spoke to the gathering.
“This is a special time for us to celebrate Irish Heritage,” Edmonds said. “When we think of heritage, of labor—of joy—we think of all that brings our communities together, this is the time we should to do that despite the challenges we face.”
As always, Brooklyn’s own Canny Brothers Band performed, played their own eclectic brand of electrified Irish folk of updated traditional standards.
Every year, the O’Malley Irish Dance Academy treats the crowd with a wonderful group Irish dance steppers. This year was no exception as the dancers—including young beginners—entertained and wowed the crowd with their dynamic performance, closing with an excerpt from the legendary theatrical musical and dance show Riverdance.