Star of Brooklyn: Kathleen McDonagh

April 2, 2013 Chloe Johnson
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KATHLEEN MCDONAGH, president of the Irish American Parade Committee 

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Kathleen McDonagh, the president of the Irish American Parade committee which organizes the Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day Parade and also annual tributes during the Battle of Brooklyn commemorations each August, has been active in the Brooklyn community since the 1970s .

“We put together the parades every year to honor St. Patrick, pay tribute to the Irish community and in remembrance of the Battle of Brooklyn,” noted McDonagh, who works with her community to keep history alive.

Every March, McDonough and the committee celebrate everything Irish. The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade assembles at Prospect Park West and 14th  Street, and then continues down Seventh Avenue to Garfield Place.

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But, it’s not just about Irish tradition. At the end of each parade, McDonagh explained, the committee pays tribute to those lost on 9/11. The Brooklyn St. Patrick’s celebration is the only parade to honor the brave every year, added McDonagh, making it clear that she intends to keep this tradition alive.

CHALLENGES: Luckily, McDonagh said she doesn’t experience any major challenges while putting together the parades each year, in large part, she explains, because the parade is run mainly by dedicated volunteers. While the St. Patrick’s Parade Committee depends on the borough’s Irish community to come together, fortunately, each year, the community is driven and ready to plan yet another successful parade.

MOTIVATION: McDonagh’s Brooklyn community motivates her to continue. In addition, each year, she’s motivated to educate others about Irish history.

McDonagh’s family is also a major part of her motivation. She says that she would love for her family to continue the tradition that she has dedicated herself to here in Brooklyn.

At times, McDonagh refers to the parade as a “family reunion.” Each year, in time for the parade, people from other areas come back to their home borough. She looks forward to the return of what she considers her “Irish family.” Creating a more intimate community is what motivates her.


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