Grand Marshal Loretta Brennan Glucksman with (on her right) Dr. John Lahey, chairman of the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade Board of Directors, and Irish Consul General Ciarán Madden. Photo by Dominick Totino.
By Ray O’Hanlon
In the midst of the baseball playoffs, Loretta Brennan Glucksman delivered a pitch perfect home run.
In words both apropos and characteristically gracious, Brennan Glucksman, Grand Marshal for the 2018 New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, spoke of how she was “down deep happy” at the chance to lead the greatest exposition of what it means to be American Irish.
And those gathered at the Irish Consulate in Manhattan Tuesday evening responded in kind.
Those in the room were clearly happy at the prospect of Brennan Glucksman - only the fifth woman to lead the parade - stepping out ahead of the line of march next March 17.
The reception was hosted by Irish Consul General Ciarán Madden, who has yet to experience the New York parade as Irish diplomacy’s principal participant.
He was clearly looking forward to the day.
“We are celebrating two institutions of Irish America, the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Loretta Brennan Glucksman,” said Consul General Madden in his remarks to the room.
“The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is an institution of global renown, marking the deep bonds between Ireland and the United States.
“It demonstrates the strength and enduring nature of Irish heritage in the city, while providing an occasion of celebration for everyone.
“Loretta Brennan Glucksman has been one of Ireland’s greatest friends for decades, and it is a privilege to share this occasion with her,” added the Consul General.
“I also want to thank Dr. John Lahey, chairman, and all of the members of the parade board for their dedication and hard work.
“I look forward to working with the board, Loretta, and the wider community in the months ahead as they prepare for the 2018 parade,” he said.
Ms. Glucksman, co-founder of Glucksman Ireland House at New York University, chair emeritus of the American Ireland Fund, and a lifelong champion of Irish culture and causes, was also looking ahead to her big day leading what will be the 257th parade.
“The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade has captivated my heart and made me feel special and hopeful as an Irish American girl from Allentown, Pennsylvania, ever since my parents took me to the parade on a fantastic road trip when I was in school,” she said.
And she continued: “Over time, the parade has continued to grow in sheer numbers of people, as well as in its importance to individuals and families from all over the world who consider their roots in our beloved Ireland.
“The credit for the parade’s ability to modernize and include our whole community goes to the steadfast leadership, courage and vision of today’s members of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade board of directors.
“The parade is a happy gathering of humanity and, with its international profile, it brings us ever closer for causes of goodness, inclusion and support for one another as citizens of the world.
“On behalf of my big Irish family and friends, I am as honored as I am humbled to serve as grand marshal, and I know that my late parents, Bill and Kitty Brennan from Allentown, will be marching right along with me.”