BUFFALO APPOINTMENT FOR UNSUNG HEROES: Capital of Irish America will roll out green carpet for champions of Irish America from across the U.S. Ed Healy, Visit Buffalo-Niagra

Introducing First Ten 'Heroes' Heading to Buffalo Irish Gala

Today the wraps come off the first ten honorees in the hotly-anticipated 'Heroes of Irish America' awards scheduled for Buffalo, NY on Friday 26 April.

The ten will join a stellar line-up of Irish American champions — nominated from across the U.S. — at the mega-event in the Buffalo Convention Center.

Chief host of the evening will be State Senator Tim Kennedy who will compete in a special election for Congress just days later. "There's a lot going on in the Buffalo in April with the Comhaltas traditional music convention at the start of the month, our Heroes gala on the 26th and then the Special Election on the 30th," he said. "But I can assure all our visitors of the warmest of welcomes to the Capital of Irish America for what is our second major national event in partnership with the Irish Echo."

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The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Ryan Murphy, will be among a delegation heading from the city to Buffalo for the Comhaltas convention in a bid to strengthen Belfast's case to host the All-Ireland Fleadh in 2025. And that, says Irish Echo publisher Máirtín Ó Muilleoir who will attend the Heroes Awards, will help build bridges between both cities. "When we brought the Irish Echo arts awards to Buffalo last year, our intention was to strengthen the already mighty links between Buffalo and Ireland, I am glad to see those links blossom with the first-ever visit by a Belfast Mayor."

Our first ten awardees heading for Buffalo are:

Brendan Costello: President Irish American Writers & Artists Inc. New York; Teacher of creative writing and literature at The City College of New York. New York, NY.

Liam Caulfield: A firefighter in the Buffalo Fire Department with sixteen years serving the the City of Buffalo; a founding member of the premier Irish-American traditional folk group, Crikwater. Buffalo, NY.

Mike Houlihan: Author, Echo Columnist; Founder and  Chairman of the Board of Hibernian Media, a public charity dedicated to Irish and Irish American culture. Chicago, IL.

Brenda O'Connor:  Retired Educator served 40 years in Cambridge, MA Public Schools teaching  grades 3, 4, and 5; Creator of South Shore Irish Heritage Trail through nine seaside communities telling stories of Irish immigration. Boston, MA.

Vincent O'Neill: Actor, Director, and Professor. Established the Irish Classical Theatre Company, Buffalo, NY in 1990 and as Artistic Director, has been promoting and producing professional theatre, mostly Irish plays, for over 30 years. Has performed his one man show on the works of James Joyce on four continents. Buffalo, NY. 

Stella O'Leary: Chairperson Irish American Democrats Political Action Committee, President Biden Appointee Observer to the International Fund for Ireland. Washington D.C.

Peter Nolan: Retired television news reporter whose career in Chicago at WMAQ-TV and WBBM-TV spanned 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. He won three Emmys and several journalism awards including Chicago Magazine’s best TV reporter. Chicago, IL.

Joan Moody: Trained as a teacher but now works family's agricultural business. Linchpin of Harp and Shamrock Society of San Antonio — and has served as President — and also a member of San Antonio Gaelic Athletic Association. San Antonio, TX.

Ryan Greff: Executive Director of Fair Lawn Main Street Inc., the Borough of Fair Lawn's taxpayer funded economic development organization. Fair Lawn, NJ. 

Dennis Kearns: An attorney/advocate for transportation issues before the Texas legislature; represents BNSF Railway and the Texas Railroad Association; President of the Board for Big Bend Conservancy, founding member of the Lone Star Shamrocks.

You can see full bios on our event page where tickets for the gala evening are also available.

Said Irish Echo Editor Ray O'Hanlon: "A key part of giving voice to Irish America is bringing people together from every corner of America to celebrate the achievements of this unstoppable community. Buffalo's Heroes of Irish America event will be a glorious opportunity to salute these unsung heroes who have been a boon to the Irish of America."

Sponsors for the Heroes of Irish American celebration include Foras na Gaeilge/Foclóir.ie, O'Donnell Associates, Irish American Partnership and green energy company in Buffalo, Viridi.