Brian O’Donovan, the host of WGBH Radio’s weekly program Celtic Sojourn, will receive Boston’s Eire Society 2014 Gold Medal honor at its annual dinner next month in Quincy. News of the honor was announced as the Irish group makes plans for its 77th annual awards banquet on Thurs., June 12, at the Neighborhood Club, with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7.
Born and raised in Clonakilty, West Cork, the honoree graduated from University College Cork and spent two years in London. He moved to Boston in 1980, met and married his wife Lindsay before they settled in West Newton where they raised their four children.
O’Donovan attended graduate school at Emerson College, and got his first job with the New England Patriots in 1984. He began working as an executive with Patriots owner Bob Kraft in 1989, eventually serving as a team vice president of the Patriots from which position he helped lure the World Cup competition here in 1994. He later helped to establish Major League Soccer in he United States, and in 1997, he became the first GM/COO of the New England Revolution soccer team.
O’Donovan has said that during these years his passion for public broadcasting was fed by his continuing involvement with WGBH, where he started broadcasting his weekly program “A Celtic Sojourn” ina 1986. Since 2005, he has helped WGBH develop its brand as a regional arts presenter, creating such events as “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn,” Boston Summer Arts Festival with the Boston Globe and Citizens Bank now entering its third year, Learning Tours to Ireland, a “St. Patrick Day Celtic Sojourn,” the annual Cartoon Festival at Symphony Hall, and many other diverse events held at WGBH’s new facilities in Brighton.
Each year The Eire Society of Boston honors a person or persons who exemplify the best of Irish culture and ideals. Previous recipients include the filmmakers John Ford and John Huston, the Irish actresses Siobhan McKenna and Maureen O’Hara, the Irish poet Seamus Heaney, US Ambassadors to Ireland William V. Shannon and Jean Kennedy Smith, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives John W. McCormack, and President John F. Kennedy.
Seats for the June 12 gala are $100 per person, and reservations can be made by e-mail to Barbara.firstname.lastname@example.org, or by postal mail to Beverly Armour, 20 Shattuck Park Rd., Norwood MA, 02062.