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Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade

News, Photo Essays, Photos

Jeff’s Pics: Nearly 100 Photos from the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade

It’s been a few years since we covered the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I missed it. Aside from an opportunity to snag a lot of really fun photos, it’s also old home week, where I ran into old friends I might not have seen for a while. Missed them, too.

Without further ado … here are all the pictures I took. Hope you see yourself somewhere in the mix. Click on the arrows above.


Here are the Winners of the 2019 Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Philadelphia Saint Patrick’s Day Observance Association Proudly Announces Congratulations to 2019 Philadelphia Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Award Winners:

Hon. James H.J. Tate Award
(Founded 1980, this was named the Enright Award Prior to 1986)
Sponsored by: Mike Driscoll
Outstanding Organization that Exemplifies the Spirit of the Parade
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia / Neumann University

Msgr. Thomas J. Rilley Award (Founded 1980)
Outstanding Fraternal Organization
Sponsored by: AOH Division 39 Msgr. Thomas J. Rilley
Joseph Fleming Memorial Brigade Continue Reading


Sean McMenamin’s Special Day

Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal Sean McMenamin is on a tight schedule these days. Who knew being grand marshal came with the responsibility for so many appearances and speeches?

It will all come to a head Sunday when he is driven down Market Street to the reviewing stand at the Constitution Center, accepting well-deserved accolades along the way.

But as grateful as Sean McMenamin is to be honored, he is quick to point out that he alone is not the one being singled out for praise, but it the generation of Irish emigrants from the late 1950s and early 1960s that he represents.

In speeches yesterday before Philadelphia City Council, a salute to Irish patriots outside City Hall and, last night, as he proudly accepted the sash of grand marshal at a dinner at Sugar House Casino held in his honor, he remembered his roots—and those of so many of his friends. Continue Reading

News, Photo Essays

Cavan Society Prepares for its Big Entrance

On a recent Saturday morning, a brightly lighted, cavernous truck bay in the back of Cavan Construction in Aston is a hive of activity. About a half dozen men are clustered around an 18-wheel tractor-trailer, sawing, drilling and hammering, carefully crafting the Cavan Society float for the 2019 Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In this, they are able assisted by a curious boxer named Diesel. That is, if “help” means leaving paw prints all over freshly green-painted wooden planks. 

We can tell you the theme. It’s the same as this year’s parade theme: “St. Patrick, Unite Us.” Beyond that, until Sunday, the day of the parade, it’s a big secret. Some of the wooden shapes hinted at the beginnings of a bridge, and there was a small house-shaped structure at the tail end. But that’s all you’re getting from us.

And it’s all you’re likely to get from Sean Smith, company project manager and superintendent, as well as the chief overseer of the float construction project. Continue Reading


Grand Marshal and Ring of Honor Recognized at Philly Parade Party

Sean McMenamin, who came to the United States from a small town just outside of Westport, County Mayo, in January 1966, describes Irish immigrants of the time as “survivors.” They came here when immigration laws were far more lax than they are now, and they did what they needed to do to make a life for themselves.

He recalled those days Wednesday night at a VIP Party at the Constitution Center—one in which he was honored as this year’s grand marshal of the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day parade.

And he remembered a steady flow of Irish immigrants in those days. “Every week, there’d be somebody new coming,” he said, addressing a large, enthusiastic crowd that included members of the parade’s Ring of Honor. Continue Reading


Last Hurrah for the 2014 Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade


One last speech from Jim Murray

One last speech from Jim Murray

Philly’s parade people like a party.

They gave an extra-big one Wednesday night at Finnigan’s Wake, all to honor the folks who scored honors at this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

It was also the swan song for this year’s grand marshal, Jim Murray, who observed that the hardest thing an Irishman can be asked to do is to say a few words. But he did say a few words, and they all amounted to one simple message: Thank you.

We posted winners before, but you probably don’t feel like trying to find them again, so here they are again.

Hon. James H.J. Tate Award

(Founded 1980, this was named the Enright Award Prior to 1986)

Sponsored by: Mike Driscoll & Michael Bradley

Group that Best Exemplified the Spirit of the Parade

Philadelphia Fire Department


Msgr. Thomas J. Rilley Award (Founded 1980)

Outstanding Fraternal Organization

Sponsored by: AOH Division 39 Msgr. Thomas J. Rilley

Second Street Irish Society


George Costello Award (Founded 1980)

Organization with the Outstanding Float in the Parade

Sponsored by: The Irish Society

Irish of Havertown


Hon. Vincent A. Carroll Award (Founded 1980)

Outstanding Musical Unit Excluding Grade School Bands:

Sponsored by: John Dougherty

Bishop Shanahan Cheerleaders & Marching Band


Anthony J. Ryan Award (Founded 1990)

Outstanding Grade School Band

Sponsored by: The Ryan Family

St. Aloysius Academy Marching Band


Walter Garvin Award (Founded 1993)

Outstanding Children’s Irish Dance Group

Sponsored by: Walter Garvin Jr.

Rince Ri School of Irish Dance


Marie C. Burns Award (Founded 2003)

Outstanding Adult Dance Group

Sponsored by: Philadelphia Emerald Society

Tara Gael Dancers


Joseph E. Montgomery Award (Founded 2006)

Outstanding AOH and/or LAOH Divisions

Sponsored by: AOH Div. 65 Joseph E. Montgomery

AOH Division 22 Firefighter John J. Redmond & LAOH Division 22 St. Florian


Joseph J. “Banjo” McCoy Award (Founded 2006)

Outstanding Fraternal Organization

Sponsored by: Schuylkill Irish Society

St. Thomas More High School Alumni Association


James F. Cawley Parade Director’s Award (Founded 2006)

Outstanding Irish Performance or Display Chosen by the Parade Director

Sponsored by: AOH Division 87 Port Richmond

Cara School of Irish Dance


Father Kevin C. Trautner Award (Founded 2008)

Outstanding School or Religious Organization that displays their Irish Heritage while promoting Christian Values

Sponsored by: Kathy McGee Burns

St. Denis Parish/Cardinal Foley School Havertown


Maureen McDade McGrory Award (Founded 2008)

Outstanding Children’s Irish Dance Group Exemplifying the Spirit of Irish Culture through Traditional Dance.

Sponsored by: McDade School of Irish Dance

McDade-Cara Championship Irish Dancers


James P. “Jim” Kilgallen Award (Founded 2011)

Outstanding organization that best exemplifies the preservation of Irish-American unity through charitable endeavors to assist those less fortunate at home and abroad.

Sponsored by: Michael Bradley

AOH Division # 39 Monsignor Thomas J Rilley


Mary Theresa Dougherty Award (Founded 2012)

Outstanding organization dedicated to serving the needs of God’s people in the community.

Sponsored by: St. Patrick’s Day Observance Association Board

Haverford HS Best Buddies


Paul J. Phillips Jr. Award (Founded 2012)

Outstanding parade marshal.

Sponsored by: Robert M. Gessler

John Gallagher


Phillip ‘Knute’ Bonner Award (Founded 2013)

Award given to the outstanding organization dedicated to preserve our freedom and protect us through sacrifice and compassion for others.

Sponsored by: Mary Beth Bonner Ryan

Irish Immigration Center