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Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

A Night of Music & Dance:

Celebrating Irish heritage

PEP photos by Mike Lee

Committee staged the 27th annual Irish Heritage Celebration at union headquarters on March 1.

The event, which DC 37 has held with pride since the early 1990s, honors the courage, determination, and sacrifice of Irish Americans in building the United States, and especially their vital contributions to the American labor movement. Many of our Irish American sisters and brothers are descended from those who arrived as economic refugees, fleeing starvation and an indifferent government in what was then British-ruled Ireland during the Potato Famine in the 1850s.

Yet, the Irish persevered, and during the Friday event, Irish heritage was celebrated with music, dance and other high-spirited shenanigans.

The Canny Brothers Band played their Brooklyn-bred stalwart blend of electric Irish folk and popular rock standards, such as the legendary Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl and the song Dirty Old Town, made famous in the 1980s by The Pogues. After remarks by Committee Vice Chair Bernadette O’Leary Enzmann and DC 37 Associate Director Oliver Gray, the festivities kicked it up a notch with the arrival of the FDNY/EMS Pipes and Drums, which performed their stirring music.

The O’Malley Irish Dance Academy came forth with waves of enthusiastic young Irish dance steppers. Every year the dancers, including some fantastic performances from the young beginners, entertained the crowd before concluding with an impromptu dance with participating members of the audience.