Celebrating Irish Ancestry as Wilmington Honors St. Patrick

Sponsored by the Irish Culture Club of Delaware, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off spring

The questions have been arriving at a very fast pace this year, like every other year.  When is the Irish Culture Club of Delaware’s St. Patrick’s Day parade?  Where will it be held?  Is there enough parking?  What should I wear?

These are from the same people that asked me those questions last year.  Yet I cheerfully respond with the appropriate details.  This will be the ICCD’s 43rd annual parade, held each year on the Saturday prior to St. Patrick’s Day.  This year’s parade is March 10th. The celebration continues at the Post Parade Hooley in a parking lot near King and 4th Streets, where a large tent will fill with parade goers and hundreds of ‘Irish’ revelers. 

Scenes from last year’s Post Parade Hooley

While the very first ICCD parade marched out Delaware Avenue and finished at the Logan House, the ICCD has paraded up King Street since 1977 — the same year we began painting King Street green with Mayor Tom Maloney. 

Our parade was threatened by the “Blizzard of ‘93” but Patrick Kelly (aka – St. Patrick) marched along with his brother and a friend to keep our legacy alive.  “We are not going to stop a parade’s tradition for a little bit of snow,” said Kelly.

Founded by Irish families such as O’Hanlon, Sweeney, Claffey, Schofield, McCoy and Dolan, we now count many nationalities as members and share each other’s cultural experience as we continue to grow and improve our parade.

All smiles at inside the tent at the St. Patrick’s Day Hooley

To say that the parade day is a cultural and economic uplift to the Wilmington community is an understatement.  Over the years, the ICCD has worked with marching groups, shopkeepers, restaurants, clubs and pubs to make sure every supporting business and everyone involved benefits from their participation.

Why?  Because these caring participants mirror the mindset of our Irish ancestors, who came to Delaware pursuing an opportunity to work the mills and factories as Wilmington grew through the post-Industrial Age.

While organizing the parade takes time and energy, we willingly do so to celebrate our Irish ancestry, to open our hearts to all cultures and to enjoy some good Irish craic!

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About the Contributor

Philip Leach

Philip Leach is a lifelong Delawarean who supports a number of organizations, including the Sisters of St. Francis Foundation and the Irish Culture Club of Delaware. You can find him each year at the St. Patrick's Day parade and Hooley.

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