Boston Irish Focus on Haiti

Ed Forry

By Ed Forry

A growing committee of Boston Irish chaired by Winnie Henry of Milton and Pat “Doc” Walsh of Dorchester have gathered to raise funds to support relief efforts for orphaned children who are victims of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti.
Organizing as “Irish Hearts for Haiti Committee,” a group of more than 30 Irish-born and Irish Americans have been meeting at Winnie’s home to make plans for the event. Working with her family and the committee, Winnie, the widow of Irish music legend Noel Henry, plans a day of continuous Irish music and entertainment from 2 to 9 p.m., on Sun., May 2, at the Quincy Marriott Hotel.

The event will feature the music of many of Boston’s leading Irish musicians, including Erin’s Melody with Margaret Dalton, the Andy Healy Band, Noel Henry’s Irish Showband, Fintan Stanley, John Connors & the Irish Express, and Larry Reynolds and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eíreann. There will also be a silent auction and raffle prizes.
The organizers released an open letter to the community, reading in part: “With over half of Haiti’s population under the age of 18, a disproportionate number of children are exposed to disease, death, and suffering. This was the grim reality before the earthquake. Now, there are estimates that over one million children will be orphaned and without urgent healthcare.
“Supporting agencies who provide care to the children of Haiti is the aim of The 1st Annual Benefit Dance for Haiti: From the hearts of the Irish to our brothers and sisters in Haiti. With your support, financial and volunteer services will be provided to orphaned and abandoned children through the organization of Friends of the Orphans: Nos Petit Frères et Soeurs (NFPS- French for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters”).
“The work of NPFS is critically important, as access to healthcare is basically non-existent. Through their pediatric hospital, St. Damien, free medical services including surgery and physical therapy will be provided in addition to other outreach programs providing food, water, education, and assistance for the disabled.” Friends of the Orphans is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, Federal Tax ID# 65-1229309, that meets all 20 BBB Charity Standards. Donations are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.
Several Irish media outlets will participate as sponsors of the event, including 950 AM WROL, The Irish Emigrant, and the Boston Irish Reporter. Other business sponsors include Marriott Boston Quincy and the Courier Corporation, and more are being added each week.
Admission if just $20, and tickets are available at most local Irish shops, pubs and restaurants, as well as at the door. More information is online at
Enjoying the Kinsale Festival
One of the joys of the celebration of St. Patrick’s in New England is the annual four-day “Kinsale Festival of Irish Food” in Newport RI. Each March, several chefs from Kinsale, Ireland’s gourmet capitol, travel to sister city Newport and take up residence in the kitchens of some of the best restaurants in that town. Organized by the Newport Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, it is the first event in that city’s annual Irish Heritage month.
I was delighted to spend a warm spring-like weekend in that seaside city, enjoying some wonderful food and delightful Irish company. We met with former RTE/Irish television presenter and chef Derek Davis, and with him and Irish Consul General Michael Lonergan, we enjoyed great accommodations and a superb meal at the historic Viking Hotel. A special thanks to Newport’s Kathryn Farrington, who was one of the lead organizers of the festival. I will plan to go back to Newport this summer, and for sure will reserve the dates for the 2011 festival next March.