A highlight of the visit will be the president’s receiving of a Solas Award presented by the Irish Immigration Center in Boston.
The Irish president will begin her tour Sunday or Memorial Day weekend when she delivers the commencement address and receives an honorary degree at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Springfield.
On that first day, McAleese will also visit the Irish Cultural Center in the College of Our Lady of the Elms, Chicopee and attend a reception for the area Irish community at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.
On Monday, McAleese will be in Springfield and Worcester. She will attend a lunch hosted by Congressman Richard Neal, meet with Worcester mayor Konstantina Lukes and Massachusetts lieutenant governor Tim Murray and, attend a wreath laying at the Celtic Cross memorial to the Irish of Worcester.
She will also visit the Worcester Irish Cultural Heritage Center.
On Tuesday, President McAleese will be in Boston for a series of meeting and events including a meeting with Mayor Thomas Menino, a lunch hosted by the American Ireland Fund, a visit to the Irish Cultural Center in Canton and an Irish community reception.
The following day she will meet attend a Tourism Ireland breakfast, meet with Governor Deval Patrick, visit the Irish Pastoral Center and its senior citizen outreach program at Florian Hall in Dorchester, attend an Enterprise Ireland lunch and speak at the Irish Immigration Center annual Solas Awards dinner at the Westin Copley Hotel.
More meetings and visits follow on Thursday including an Irish American Partnership breakfast and a visit to the the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum at Colombia Point.
The president’s attendance at the Solas Awards, at which she is the main award recipient, coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Irish Immigration Center’s founding.
“Twenty years is a massive milestone for IIC and hosting the president is a great occasion for Boston’s entire Irish community,” said Sister Lena Deevy, executive director of the IIC.
“We are delighted to be celebrating 20 years and that is a tribute to the Irish community and volunteers who created it and sustain it still. There are many shared struggles, triumphs and stories to celebrate with President McAleese,” Deevy said.
IIC was founded by Irish volunteers in a Dorchester basement with a single telephone in 1989. Its free legal clinics throughout the city over the intervening years have helped thousands of immigrants become permanent residents and U.s. citizens.
Previous recipients of Solas awards include President Clinton, President Mary Robinson, Senator Edward Kennedy, George Russell, Joseph Moakley, Elizabeth Shannon, Gail Snowden, Teresa Heinz-Kerry, Brian Cowen, Mayor Thomas Menino, Kathleen O’Toole, Neil Finnegan, Brian Donnelly, Bruce Morrison, John Cullinane and Raymond Flynn.
Among the guests expected to attend the awards event are Jean Kennedy-Smith, former U.S. ambassador to Ireland, Ireand’s current ambassador to the U.S., Michael Collins and Irish Consul General in Boston, David Barry.
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