More than 300 guests packed the Boston Seaport Hotel’s ballroom last Friday (Oct. 27) for the 13th annual Boston Irish Honors luncheon, which highlights men, women, and families of Irish ancestry who “embody the best qualities of the Irish.” The event is organized by Boston Irish Magazine, a publication that is owned by the Forry family of Dorchester, who also publish The Dorchester Reporter.
Gov. Maura Healey became the first sitting chief executive of the Commonwealth to accept the award, which was presented to her by past recipient and honorary co-chairman of the Irish Honors event, US Sen. Edward Markey. Gov. Healey was joined at the event by her mother Catherine Tracy Healey, who is the daughter of Irish immigrants. Gov. Healey has visited Ireland several times, including a trip as governor earlier this year to commemorate the 60th anniversary of President Kennedy’s 1963 visit to his family’s ancestral home.
The Rooney family, rooted in South Boston but with members living in Dorchester— including Jim and Millie Rooney—were honored for their family’s many contributions to the city and the region over mul- tiple generations. Tom Tinlin, who co-hosted Friday’s luncheon with former Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, presented the award to Jim Rooney and his ten brothers. Jim Rooney, who leads the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, offered moving remarks about his family’s experience, with a particular focus on his mom, Margaret ‘Peggy’ Rooney, who is the daughter or Irish immigrants from Co. Mayo.
The husband-and-wife duo Vincent Crotty and Kieran Jordan, accepted the Boston Irish Honor for their contributions to arts and culture in the community. The couple live in Dorchester. Crotty, born in Co. Cork, Ireland, is a highly-regarded portrait and landscape painter who emigrated to Boston in the 1980s. His wife, Kieran Jordan, is a Philadelphia native who has devoted her life’s work to teaching Irish dance, particularly the traditional sean nos style. They each offered poignant remarks about their close friend and mentor, the late Brian O’Donovan, a leader in the Boston Irish community who died on Oct. 6.
Other local names who played a role in Friday’s events include Rev. Jack Ahern of St. Gregory’s parish in Dorchester,
who offered a closing prayer; William Kennedy of Dorchester, a past honoree who served as the event’s co-chair, along with longtime Dorchester business leader and past honoree Brendan Feeney; Maureen Forry-Sorrell, who leads the Boston Irish effort with her father, Ed Forry; Hon. James T. Brett, a past honoree and com- mittee member; and Councillor Frank Baker, who attended the luncheon with his chief of staff, Amanda Curley, and was saluted from the stage for his career.
Photos by Margaret Brett Hastings