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One hundred thousand welcomes to you to my official blog of all things Irish from me, Diane Byrnes, host of the Echoes of Erin radio show on WEDO Radio 810AM.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Parade 2009

The Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day Parade took place on Saturday, March 14, 2009. It was an absolutely glorious day -- from the weather to the crowd! Here are a few highlights for me over the course of the day.

First of all, I would be hard pressed to drive down the parade route without my darling and delightful driver Valerie Grimes, who has been with me since she was nine years old. Yes, she is a bit older today!!

Not only did Valerie come to drive me, but she brought a couple of friends who have never participated in a St. Patrick's Day Parade. The young lady with sunglasses is Kate Munhall, from Columbus and Jill Nizak from Pittsburgh and Valerie Grimes on the right with the green cap. All three girls are students at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling WV. Jill and Kate were quite busy waving to the crowds as Valerie was careful doing the driving. Me, well I just sat on the boot and waved!!

Valerie is the daughter of Jay & Ginny Grimes. Jay has taken care of me for the Parade close on to 20 years now. Jay provides a car and driver, maybe it is himself, or wife Ginny or even his son. The last several years Valerie has had the honor or task (depending on how you look at it)!
Kate has an interesting background; although I did not have time to find out the whole story, it seems Kate's ancestors were the founders of a community around Pittsburgh called Munhall.

As folks were setting up to march, I came across this group -- Lauren, brother Patrick and father Patrick Byrne with Pittsburgh City Mayor, Luke Ravensthal. Lauren, Patrick and Patrick are the family of Miss Smiling Irish Eyes 2009, Bridget Byrne. And young Patrick is a student at John Carroll University majoring in art; Patrick created the logo on the Mayor's shirt which is the City of Pittsburgh skyline, superimposed on a shamrock, embroidered in green on a black shirt. All those who marched with the Mayor made an impressive site! Patrick did a beautiful job on this project and I understand the Mayor was quite pleased.

It is always good to see Mayor Luke Ravensthal out and about at Irish functions; he has the opportunity to meet many constituents and seems to have a good time with us.

Here are a couple of old friends, Terry Archibald in her green glasses and Fay Stipanovich from Mt. Lebanon.

This motley crew is Sgt. Geppart and Michael Krause (I don't know his rank). These two Civil War Re-enactors march with the Pennsylvania 116th. Michael Krause is also the Curator at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland. The Irish have quite an interesting history in this area and Michael Krause will be a guest on Echoes of Erin to tell us some of the stories and history. He will be facinating!
Lauren and Patrick Byrne -- this is such a nice picture. I have known these two since they were born; a great sister and brother team!

Here is their Mother, Jean Brose Byrne and also the Mother of Miss Smiling Irish Eyes 2009, Bridget Byrne.

This Parade was a marvelous event; along with the weather being perfect, the City of Pittsburgh really accommodated the Parade with the barriers along the route. It is amazing how much easier it is to drive the route when the spectators are not crowding the space plus it is so much safer. There was a good Police presence; all whom I spoke with were pleasant and delightful.
During the afternoon I celebrated with many friends at the Sports Rock Cafe in The Strip. The Knights of Equity and Daughters of Erin had their party at this venue. The advantage of this venue is that there is some space in which to move; a great crowd assembles each year, but still, the venue is large enough that there is room for everyone and you are not being pushed and shoved. Aran from Johnstown entertained and did a very good job, (Aran has been coming to town for many years for the Kights and Daughters). There was a place for the kids to play and enjoy themselves too.

These next two pictures are of the Donohue boys; they are the sons of Tom & Judy Donohue of Penn Hills. The sons are, from left to right, Michael, Johnny, Mom (Judy), Steve and Paul. Tom & Judy were so happy to have all the boys home and near them for a wee while!!

It WAS a grand day for the Irish! I wish all of you a very Happy St. Patrick's Day on Tuesday and no matter what you do to celebrate, be careful, stay safe, and don't overdo it!


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