This year’s Colleen Queen Kathleen Rose Byrnes has long been proud of her Irish heritage.
She is the daughter of Maureen (O’Malley) and John Byrnes. Since she was an infant, all her days were spent with her mom in Irish dance classes at the O’Malley Irish Dance Academy.
She has grown to be an accomplished competitive dancer, who has successfully represented her school in local, regional and national competitions. Also a valued member of the dance academy’s performance group, Byrnes performs at over 70 events annually including on the field with the NY Mets, on the court with the NY Nets, Brooklyn Cyclones, City Hall, Borough Hall, Ellis Island and more. However, she says her favorite places to perform are in schools, hospitals and nursing homes, where she has made countless new friends and endless memories.
In addition, she now serves as an assistant teacher, helping to instruct the next generation of dancers.
Along with her brothers, Jack and Tommy, she attended and graduated from Good Shepherd School, Marine Park. She is currently a junior in Fontbonne Hall Academy, Bay Ridge, where she founded the Gaelic Society and plans to bring a great deal of the Irish culture to the school community.
She is also a member of the cheerleading team and a group leader in the school’s Sports Night fundraiser. She spends her summers working as a camp counselor for little children.
She served her parish of Good Shepherd as an altar server and lector for many years. Since she was 5 years old, she has been an active member of the fund-raising team with her fellow dancers in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
Many of her vacations were spent at one of her “favorite places in the world,” with her cousins in Connemara, Co. Galway.
This will be Byrnes’ 13th year performing at the Great Irish Fair. She is honored to be this year’s Colleen Queen, and humbled to be among the honorees.