Irish Heritage

Maeve Shea (back right) was chosen to be one of five girls on the Colleen Court. She was interviewed on stage during the preliminary night of the contest, and then got to attend the Coronation Ball on February 15 where Maeve says that one of the girls on the court won a trip to Ireland and a $750 scholarship. MAEVE SHEA

Massachusetts boasts the highest Irish population in the United States, clocking in at 21.6% of residents claiming Irish ancestry. Junior Brendan Fitzgerald who lived in Ireland for two years tells “in Ireland the communities are more tightly knit.” Though here the community isn’t as tightly knit as it is in Ireland, there are many cultural centers such as the John Boyle O’Reilly Club and the Irish Cultural Center (ICC), where junior student Keely Kivel is in her twelfth year of Irish step dancing. At these centers, one can enter in competitions such as the Colleen court, she says, “It’s comparable to a pageant except it’s more focused around your Irish heritage.” Keely coincidentally came to this Jet Jotter interview wearing a shirt that said, Dingle, Ireland. “We are just very proud of our heritage,” she explained. Keely also feels like the Irish culture is exemplified during holidays. “On St. Patrick’s day we throw a big, big breakfast where we will have 100 of our closest friends.” And “on Christmas Eve we start at one house and move from house to house to bring the spirit of Christ and family.”  Both Keely and her mother feel like family is one of the most important aspects of being part of the Irish community “[my mother and father] both left Ireland to go find money, to go make money to not have for themselves but to ship it back home,” says Keely’s mother Mrs. Kivel.

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