Though the coronavirus pandemic forcibly canceled all large, outdoor events, the 39th Annual Great Irish Fair of New York continued virtually on Sept. 19. Maureen O’Malley-Byrnes, executive director of the Irish American Building Society, remained steadfast in ensuring the end-of- summer tradition would not be forgotten.
The 37th Great Irish Fair of New York, presented by the Irish American Building Society (IABS), is a family-friendly event celebrating faith, history and culture. The Fair will be held Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Ford Amphitheater, West 21st Street and the Boardwalk in Coney Island.
Whether your musical tastes are traditional or contemporary, this year’s array of performers offer something everyone will enjoy at the Great Irish Fair.
This year’s Chief Brehon of the Great Irish Fair is Queens-born Margaret M. (Peggy) Smyth, chief financial officer of National Grid. She is the second female Brehon in the history of the fair.
For the young women who accept the honor of becoming one of the Great Irish Fair’s Colleen Queens, they also accept the responsibility of becoming an ambassador for Catholic schools. For the 2018 Colleen Queen Mackenzie Iburg – she embraced that responsibility with open arms.
Thomas Duffy, a financial services professional with the Charter Oak Insurance and Financial Services Co., is receiving the Irish Man of the Year Award.
Sheila O’Hagan McGirl, the director of institutional advancement at the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal in Philadelphia, Pa., and daughter of the late Al O’Hagan, is receiving the Kathleen Slattery Woman of the Year Award.
Paul A. Michels, a partner with Cullen and Dykman LLP, a law firm founded in Brooklyn in 1850, is receiving the St. Thomas More Award. Michels has spent his entire 36-year legal career at Cullen and Dykman, last 28 years as a partner in the firm’s banking and real estate department.
Mark C. Edwards, the president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 21, in the Rockaways, is receiving the Thomas Cuite Memorial Award.
Kassie Bracken, a senior video journalist for The New York Times, where she reports, produces, shoots and edits both feature stories and documentaries, is this year’s Bard of the Fair.