The Manchester St.Patrick's Parade has teamed up again this year with New Horizons to collect non-perishable food items during the parade to help your local food pantries.
Welcome to the 2015 St Patrick's Parade
The 20th anniversary Manchester St. Patrick’s Parade was held on March 29, 2015.
The parade stepped off at Noon, RAIN OR SHINE, and proceeded from Salmon to Central Street.
2015 Grand Marshal
The St. Patrick’s Parade committee has announced that John “Jack” O’Connor has been named Grand Marshal of the 20th annual Manchester St. Patrick’s Parade, which was held on Sunday, March 29th. Each year, the parade names a Grand Marshal who is of Irish heritage and Catholic faith, who has contributed to the betterment of the greater Manchester area.
John "Jack" O'Connor was born September 19, 1935 in Fitchburg, MA. He was married to Eileen O'Sullivan (Boston College '60) in Portsmouth, NH in 1962. Jack & Eileen are the parents of Katie, Sean, Patrick, Michael & Brendan and grandparents to Margaret, Jack, Finbar, Emily, Maeve, Quinn, Bridget, Keira, Emmet, Mairin, Madelyn, Desmond & Brendan.
The son of John and Katherine (Sheehan), Jack was born and raised in Fitchburg, MA. He attended St. Bernard's High School (Fitchburg) and was the Vice President of the Senior Class and the recipient of the prestigious "All Bernardian Award" in June 1953.
He arrived in Manchester for the first time shortly thereafter to attend St. Anselm College from which he would graduate in May of 1957. While at St. A's he was a member of The Red Key Honor Society. Upon graduation from St. Anselm he embarked on a career in education throughout the state of New Hampshire. After starting at St. Patrick's High School in Berlin he became a member of the founding faculty at St. Thomas Aquinas in Dover. At St. Thomas, he served as Athletics Director and Head Coach of the boys basketball, golf & track teams. During this time, he also served as the President of the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Association. He later taught and coached at New Boston High School as well.
In 1964, Jack, along with fellow St. A's alum, Francis "Frankie" O'Donnell, bought the Bedford Golfland. Soon thereafter, they expanded the operation and opened The Lamplighter Restaurant & Pub.
Driven largely by Jack's strong association with his Irish heritage, The Lamplighter soon became synonymous with Irish music in NH. Throughout the 1970's, The Lamplighter was the place to go for live Irish entertainment and legendary St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
Many 'up and coming' Irish musicians played at The Lamplighter including such acts as Christy Henshaw, New Hampshire's Shaw Brothers, Billy Carson, Barleycorn, the Bobby Darling Band and many more. Especially noteworthy, were several week-long appearances by world-known Irish musicians/poets/entertainers, Tommy Makem & Liam Clancy. NH residents at the time, Makem & Clancy recognized Jack's unique ability to deliver Irish entertainment at the local level. The concerts sold out weeks in advance and were the hottest ticket in Manchester and beyond.
Additionally, Jack and all of the O'Connor's take great pride in the fact that The Lamplighter was also the first public appearance for Manchester's own and former Grand Marshall, Marty Quirk.
At the same time, The Lamplighter gave St. Patrick's Day a whole new meaning. One day didn't seem like enough, so Jack turned it into a weeklong celebration that included Family Day on Sunday, Irish Dancing, Uilleann Pipers, and, of course, live Irish folk music throughout the week. For details about St. Patrick's Day itself, well, let's just say that I was too young to experience it, but it was, after all, the '70's!
Jack was co-owner of The Lamplighter until 1980. In 1981, he moved his family north to Gilford, NH where he owned and managed Pizza-By-Paras family restaurant in Laconia. He later became a state employee when he joined the NH Bureau of Emergency Communications in 1995. He spent the next 15 years traveling throughout the state educating small towns, schools and local organizations about the use of the 911 Emergency system.
Jack and Eileen, married for 52 years, currently live in Hampstead, NH and spend much of their time enjoying their 13 grandchildren.
The annual “Passing of the Sash” will take place at mass a St. Raphael on Saturday, March 7th, followed by its annual Irish Dinner. John will march in the parade on March 29th, along with his friends and family.
Grand Marshal candidates are nominated in the fall and are selected by a panel made up of the five previous Grand Marshals.
Thank you to everyone who purchased a raffle ticket. The drawing took place on Sunday, March 29, 2015. Information on the 2016 raffle tickets will be available in the fall of 2015.