Marianna O’Gallagher enjoys the ride

Mar 19 St. Patrick's Day parade - Marianna O.jpg

St. Patrick’s Society of Montreal parade co-chair Barbara Gale enjoys a ride with Irish Heritage Quebec president Marianna O’Gallagher in Montreal’s 2008 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Quebec City’s Marianna O’Gallagher was the hit of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Montreal this year. She travelled in the lead horse-drawn calèche of the six decorated by volunteers of the St. Patrick’s Society of Montreal. The organization picked up two prizes at the parade — the award for the sister societies and best float in the parade.

Society president Mary McDaid was thrilled with the parade and with the next day’s annual luncheon, where, before a crowd of almost 600 people, O’Gallagher was honoured for her dedication to preserving the province’s Irish heritage.

“We had an incredible St. Patrick’s Day [with] Marianna O’Gallagher sitting beside Irish Ambassador Declan Kelly at our wonderful Annual Luncheon. Dr. Michael Kenneally, director of the Centre for Canadian Irish Studies at Concordia University made a wonderful speech in presenting Marianna with the Society’s Community Award for 2008 - and she got a standing ovation,” said McDaid.

“In his own speech, Premier Charest was also generous in his praise of Marianna’s superb contribution to the history of the Irish in our province - and I think Marianna was honoured and moved by the whole occasion,” she added.

March 17 brought more good news for the Irish community of the province.

News of the creation of the Johnson Chair in Canadian Irish Studies at Concordia University was announced. The chair was created with $2 million from the Quebec government through the Canadian Irish Studies Foundation. Another $1 million was added from the Concordia University Foundation.

McDaid was proud of the day and of the work of all the volunteers behind the scenes who helped make the weekend’s events such a success.