St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick's Day was a glorious time for us all. It started off at the East Side Irish American Club where we enjoyed doughnuts and coffee as we waited for Lolly the Trolley to arrive around 11:30am or so. Arrive it did and off we went to the parade. Our driver was a lovely lady named Margaret who was a real pro at guiding Lolly through the parade traffic and who loved to talk about the recent developments in Cleveland as we drove along. To be sure, Margaret was well-versed on matters such as the dangerous potholes and the layout of the new convention center which we drove past on our way back. When we arrived at our appropriate parade location, we had about 20 minutes to walk around and inspect the various floats. Along these lines, we were particularly impressed by the East Side Irish American Club float which was a tribute to the classic film, "The Quiet Man" with John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, and Barry Fitzgerald as well as the West Side Irish American Float which was a tribute to another movie classic, "Sing'n in the Rain" with Gene Kelly. Only today the star was a little boy dressed up like Gene Kelly who did a little tap dance for us. We also got to take photographs and say hello to such dignitaries as Mayor Frank Jackson, U.S. Congressperson Marcy Kaptur, Cleveland City Councilperson Martin Sweeney and Ohio State Rep. Armond Budish. Lastly we enjoyed petting some very well-behaved Irish Wolfhounds who were gentle giants. The parade started promptly at 1:04pm and we boarded Lolly, and took part by constantly waving to the many people along the parade route. Afterwards, we headed back to the East Side Club where we relaxed at the parade-after-party for a little while. We then had enough time to run home and get ready for the 2014 annual banquet of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians where we visited with people like our old friend Sheila Crawford from the Cleveland Cultural Gardens and Murphy Dance Studio and a new friend Daniel M. Corcoran, Executive Director Emeritus of the Saint Patrick's Day Parade Committee. We were indeed surprised to learn that the turnout for this year's parade wasn't as good as other years due to the cold weather and the fact that some schools just couldn't afford to give their pupils the day off due to the unusual number of necessary snow days. Particularly rewarding was the opportunity to visit for a moment with James Riley who is the Health Minister of Ireland and the night’s guest speaker. Mr. Riley told us that he didn't really have time to talk about the need for immigration reform between the U.S. and Ireland during his speech (which mostly dealt with the improving economic condition of Ireland) but he would have really liked to because it is sorely needed. This viewpoint was held by many people there this evening including Father Mahoney, who mentioned the need for reform in his opening prayer and told us that he really respected the work of our office.