McAleese was speaking last weekend at the event which this year marked its 25th anniversary.
“Irish Fest is known at home in Ireland as one of the biggest and most popular celebrations of Irish culture anywhere in the world,” McAleese told Fest goers.
McAleese said that the success of Milwaukee Irish Fest was only possible because of the “relentless commitment” of many hard-working people.
“Very special credit is due to the legendary Ed Ward, Founder and President of Irish Fest and to Jane Anderson, Director of Irish Fest. You both head up a remarkable team and deserve huge credit on this landmark birthday,” McAleese said.
“The strength and vibrancy of the Irish community here in Milwaukee and throughout the Mid-West is at the heart of this successful festival. That Irish identity has endured over many generations as has the web of clan and family which holds us Irishmen and women together no matter how far apart in time or territory,” she added.
Almost everyone in Ireland was related to someone in the United States, she said.
“Today, we thank God for the gift of being connected, of staying connected, the gift of community and of caring for one another and for the chance to cherish our shared kinship through music, dance, craic and camaraderie at the Milwaukee Irish Fest.”
BROOKLYN IRISH REMEMBER
The Brooklyn Irish American Parade Committee is gathering this week for its annual series of commemorations in the borough’s Greenwood Cemetery.
The event, set for Sunday, Aug. 28 at 11:30 a.m., will commemorate the 229th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn and will also include ceremonies honoring Irish heroes of the Revolutionary and Civil wars.
Additionally, there will be wreath-laying ceremonies at the graves of Matilda Tome, wife of Wolfe Tone, and historian and author John Gallagher who penned a definitive history of the 1776 battle that was fought in part on the site of the present day cemetery.
The new Irish Consul General in New York, Tim O’Connor, is expected to attend the ceremonies.
BARRY GO ROUND
A bid to enshrine Wexford native Commodore John Barry as the U.S. Navy’s first flag officer sank with the last Congress.
It’s being raised again in the current one.
Pennsylvania GOP senator Arlen Specter introduced a resolution aimed at honoring Barry in the Senate just before summer recess. The resolution has six cosponsors in senators Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Jon Corzine, Frank Lautenberg, Joe Lieberman and Charles Schumer.
A matching resolution was placed before the House of Representatives earlier this year by Rep. Peter King. It has 28 current cosponsors.
Both resolutions have been referred to the relevant Armed Services Committees and the Ancient Order of Hibernians has mounted a campaign aimed at securing additional support from senators and representatives.
John Barry’s most memorable battle during the Revolutionary War took place when he commanded the Continental Navy frigate “Alliance” which captured two British ships after a close fought encounter off the Newfoundland coast in May, 1781.
Barry (1745-1803) had been offered a commission by the British at the outset of the Revolutionary War. He chose his adopted country instead and at the end of the war was issued Commission Number One in the fledgling U.S. Navy by George Washington.
Barry’s service to his adopted country is already marked by statues in Wexford Town and Philadelphia.