Sunday, March 18, 2001

Cold of little importance to the not-so-Irish

By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        It could not have been colder on Galway Bay bluff than it was in downtown Cincinnati Saturday during the 35th annual St. Patrick's Day parade.

[photo] Bill Rouse Jr., a pipe major with Cincinnati Caledonian Pipes and Drums, plays the bagpipes Saturday in the annual parade downtown.
(Tony Jones photos)
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        But none of the thousands who lined downtown streets — or the thousands who marched along the 2-mile parade route — seemed to mind.

        How could you mind a little wind and snow, when before your eyes a three-hour-long line of smiling Gallaghers and Donnellons, Heenans and Flynns, Kellys and Doyles and other green-suited clans dance jigs and reels on downtown streets?

        “I wait for this every year,” said Ed Faulkner of Florence, who brought along 11 nieces and nephews.

        “I've been coming since I was their age. It's a family tradition.”

        It's been a family tradition for Cincinnati's Irish for the past 35 years, but it also draws Tristaters by the thousands who are no more Irish than the Queen of England.

        And it attracts the politicians. At least a score of local pols — a U.S. congressman, some city council members, judicial candidates and county officials — marched among the 336 parade entries, a parade record.

        Some of the politicians were actually Irish-descended, like Municipal Court Judge James Patrick Kenney or David Crowley, a Cincinnati council candidate.

        Mr. Crowley and about 50 family members walked behind the Pontiac GTO carrying his sister, Sister Jean “Cookie” Crowley, the grand marshal of this year's parade. Sister Crowley, 59, was being honored for her work with boys at Boys Hope, a home in Finneytown.

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