Tag Archives: bagpipes

All Things Irish Along 5th Avenue In Honor of St. Patrick

19 Mar
NYPD Emerald Society Pipes and Drum Band Get Things Started

Written by: Albert Terc

Photos and Videos by: Albert Terc

The morning started out as a cloudy misty morning much like you would find at an Irish countryside town this time of year. The jubilation can be felt as soon as you stepped on 5th Ave., where the 262nd version of the St. Patrick’s Day parade was about to kick off. This is the granddaddy of all parades. It goes back to pre-Revolutionary Days and keeping true to the first one, everyone marches. There are no cars, no trucks, no floats. There were plenty of pipes and drum bands and some amazing marching bands from all across the country. The well over 1 million revelers came out to cheer the 150,000 marchers that came to pay tribute to St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland and the Archdiocese of New York City. All groups of marchers stop by the front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to salute Cardinal Dolan and the clergy. This year’s Grand Marshal honor was bestowed upon Kevin Conway, Vice Chairman of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, a global private equity fund. As typical with most parades in NYC, the mounted police let the crowd know the parade was about to start. The first group to represent Irish culture and strength was the military escort of “The Fighting 69th” which has a military history going back to the Civil War.

The Fighting 69th Get the Parade In Gear

Grand Marshal Kevin Conway Salutes the Crowd
Londonderry Lancers Give It Their Best
NYPD Emerald Society Getting the Crowd Worked Up

One of my personal favorite groups that appears each year is the tribute to Detective Steven McDonald, who was paralyzed in the line of duty while attempting to talk to some youths in Central Park. He forgave the youths for their terrible offenses and set an example of how to handle these types of conflicts. No doubt, Love Is The Way. Although he passed in 2017, his loving spirit will never be forgotten. This parade is known for having some of the best bands play some great tunes and a perennial favorite out of Londonderry, New Hampshire never lets the crowd down. They have some of the best uniforms and loudest brass section. Some of the best pipes and drum bands came locally from the NYPD Emerald Society. They always set the bar for a pipes and drum band and few can surpass their performance. A pleasant surprise came from Missouri when the large Clark County HS Marching band from Kahoka appeared. Then everyone’s favorite FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums Band marched up 5th Avenue with lots of fanfare. Right after them is the biggest display of American Flags in any parade. This group is dedicated to remembering the 343 firefighters that perished on 9/11. They will never be forgotten.

In Honor of Detective Steven McDonald
Londonderry Lancers Ready to Play Loudly and Proudly
Clark County HS Marching Band from Missouri playing their hearts out
FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drum Pay Tribute to St. Patrick
Gone but Never Forgotten

This parade symbolizes the unity of Ireland and NYC. Each County in Ireland sends their representatives carrying a large banner and greet the crowd. Police officers from Ireland (Garda Siochana) and police officers from NYC march together as a show of unity. Many of the Catholic schools and universities in the area send their representatives to march in the grand parade. Manhattan College was one of the groups that stood out the most with their pipes and drum band playing a catchy tune. Another treat came by way of the Hoover HS Buccaneers travelling all the way from Hoover, Alabama to get the crowd worked up. One group that may have travelled the furthest was the St, Mary’s Brass and Reed Band from Cavan, Ireland. They were amazing and the crowd showed their love.

Proud to Represent Dublin in NYC
Hoover Marching Band from Alabama with a Strong Drumline

The St. Patrick’s Day parade sets off the parade season in NYC in grand style in only how NY can do it….top notch. The parade is also a time celebrate the Irish contribution to not only the fabric of this great city but to the fabric of this nation. It was just reported this month that the first immigrant to enter Ellis Island was from Ireland. There were plenty of people hootin’ and hollering during the parade as there was plenty to be happy about. I’ll close out this article with a fine Irish limerick…..

     Some days there’s nothing can stop you from winning
      On others you can’t keep your wallet from thinning
               A sunflower dies
               A new moon will rise
     Your luck, like our planet, just never stops spinning

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin with NYS AG Leticia James
NYS Governor Kathy Hochel
See Ya Next Year
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