If you’re part of the Irish community in Philadelphia, you know Sean McMenamin from, well, everywhere. For over 50 years, he has been one of the most recognizable and beloved forces of nature in the community; somehow the man from Kildangan, County Mayo, manages to be both a behind-the-scenes presence at the same time that he is leading the charge.
And he will, quite literally, be at the head of the parade when he leads the 2019 Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 10, as this year’s Grand Marshal. It is particularly fitting that he does so the year the theme is “St. Patrick, Unite Us,” because this is a man who has been uniting people his entire life.
Sean sat down with Jeff Meade and myself in the library at the Commodore John Barry Arts and Cultural Center, AKA the Irish Center, to talk about his journey from Mayo to here. It seemed an apt place for the video, since without Sean McMenamin there’s a pretty good chance that neither the library, nor the Arts and Cultural Center, would exist in their current forms. Plus, he’s a pretty tough man to catch up with, and we knew we could find him there.
Watch and enjoy!