Category: Archive

O’Hara installed as grand marshal

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

Maureen O’Hara, Ireland’s screen legend, was installed as grand marshal last week for this year’s New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

At a ceremony on Jan. 12 at the New York Sheraton, O’Hara was led onto a dais, where the AOH parade committee, including last year’s grand marshal, former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, presented her with the marshal’s sash.

Although suffering from a cold, O’Hara, who has starred in movies such as “The Quiet Man,” said that at 78 she could still “outbox, outfence and outrun, the healthiest man you have in the room.”

In a speech laced with humor, O’Hara went on to describe how she had made “The Quiet Man” with John Wayne after completing “Rio Grande” to finance what many directors thought was a “silly little Irish story.”

A true patriot, O’Hara also recalled how when she first applied for U.S. citizenship, she filled in the application forms, putting down her status as an Irish citizen.

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At the time the immigration official required her to swear allegiance to the Crown as a British subject. O’Hara said she refused, and such was her insistence at a later immigration hearing that the judge decided he would let her enter the U.S. as an Irish citizen. It was, she said, the first time that an Irish citizen had been recognized as such by the U.S. government.

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