While St. Patrick’s Day is still several weeks away, the members of Augusta’s Irish-American Heritage Society have already begun their celebrations surrounding that day’s activities.
On Feb. 4, members of the organization met for the annual Grand Marshal Ball at the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center, where they named this year’s dignitaries and welcomed new members.
“The grand marshal ball really kicks off the events leading to St. Patrick’s Day,” said Sean Mooney, treasurer.
The organization has about 500 active members — about 340 of whom attended the sold-out event.
The group named Brian Leonard as its Grand Marshal; Theresa Gasser as the Irish Lady of the Year; and the Sonny Casey Family as the Irish Family of the Year.
Joining the festivities was Caoimhe Ni Chonchuir of the Consulate General of Ireland Atlanta.
“Irish-America is more traditionally associated with Boston, with Chicago, with Philly with New York, but the truth is that the fountains in Savannah run green too and the pipers in Augusta play just as loud and almost 10% of Georgians share an Irish heritage,” she said.
The consulate in Atlanta has only been open for 13 years, and it was the first to open since the 1930s, indicating the commitment to Americans of Irish heritage.
Chonchuir said she believes she is the first Consul General to attend the Augusta ball and she was impressed and excited to see the strong showing of Irish people in the ballroom. She looked forward to building the relationship with those in Augusta.
Mooney said as the days lead up to March 17, more special events including a tea for the Irish Lady of the Year, a grand marshal breakfast and a golf tournament are planned.
Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at email@example.com. Subscribe to the newsletter here.