Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia expresses excitement for the Irish Flag raising and upcoming St. Patrick’s holiday.
Reminder Publishing photo by Trent Levakis

HOLYOKE — In kicking off celebrations for Irish American Heritage Month, the city of Holyoke hosted its annual Irish flag raising outside of City Hall on March 1.

Led by the Ancient Order of Hibernians James A. Curran Division One and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Division Two of Hampden/Hampshire Counties led the celebration alongside Mayor Joshua Garcia and members of the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Committee. Master of ceremonies was Hibernian’s President Joe O’Connor

“This is a time to reflect on Irish heritage, learn more about it and celebrate it,” O’Connor said.

Garcia expressed excitement to be celebrating the kick off event that leads into the home stretch of green season for the city of Holyoke.

“Holyoke’s Irish roots run deep here in the city,” Garcia said. “The Irish came here, worked here, they got married here, raised their families here, established their churches and schools here.”

Garcia added the Irish community is a foundation of the city of Holyoke and have helped build it into what it is today.

“I’m not Irish, but I’m 100% Holyoke,” Garcia said. “Many people in every corner of our city are very diverse and share this very same history. I am so incredibly proud to be the mayor of this community and continue to honor these traditions that reflect that very values that we have in this country.”

State Rep. Patricia Duffy (D-Holyoke) said it was always great to see the pride in Irish heritage throughout the city and during this time of year.

“A lot of that is why I was drawn to Holyoke, seeing that pride in Irish heritage,” Duffy added as someone with Irish heritage herself. “But not just that. The city welcomes all kinds of people. It’s a beautiful, diverse tapestry.”

St. Patrick’s Parade President Hayley Dunn said she was excited it was the home stretch leading up to parade day and she was already hoping the weather will hold up. She added it was great to keep this tradition alive of the flag raising and overall celebration for the holiday in the city as it unites families and community members.

“Regardless, it’s going to be a wonderful, beautiful day in Holyoke on St. Patrick’s Day,” Dunn said. “In 16 days, we’ll be marching through these streets with hundreds of thousands of our closest friends and family.”

The 71st annual Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade will take place on Sunday, March 17.

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