Published March 3, 2011
The Hibernian Benevolent Society of Atlanta, which started many of Atlanta’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, will sponsor its annual events in honor of Ireland’s patron saint.
The festivities kick off with the annual ceremony to honor Father Thomas O’Reilly, a founder of HBSA and the man who was instrumental in saving Atlanta churches and city buildings from General Sherman’s intent to burn the entire city on his march to the sea.
Held on Thursday, March 10, the day will begin with an 11 a.m. reception at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Atlanta. Guests will be able to visit Father O’Reilly’s crypt preserved at the church and Hibernians will also provide Irish bread and scones for the reception.
At 12:10 p.m., Mass will be celebrated by the shrine’s pastor, Msgr. Henry Gracz. Guests will then walk to the Father O’Reilly Memorial outside Old Atlanta City Hall for the annual wreath-laying ceremony, which begins at 1 p.m. A city official from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s office will also attend and read the proclamation citing Father O’Reilly’s service to Atlanta. Fire and police Emerald Society units take part.
The following day, March 11, the HBSA will hold its annual Black Tie Ball and Banquet at the Druid Hills Golf Club from 6:30 to
11:45 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by the Laigh Langley Dance Band, renowned for their repertoire of songs that range from popular and contemporary to old-time classics and ballroom tunes. Following dinner there will be a program of Irish dancing provided by the King-O’Sullivan School Of Irish Dance and a sing-along of traditional Irish songs.
The new Irish Consul-General Paul Gleeson and his wife, Alita, will attend the ball. The Irish Consulate in Atlanta is one of only five Irish consulates in the United States and the first established since 1933. He will share his hopes and aspirations for maintaining cultural ties between Atlanta and Ireland and for forging new relationships here and abroad.
Also attending the ball are former recipients of the Irishman of the Year Award, Msgr. Edward Dillon, pastor of Holy Spirit Church, and Kevin Conboy.
The event is open to all who support Irish culture and enjoy Irish music and dance. Tickets are $95 or $950 for a table of 10.
The 129th St. Patrick’s Day Parade, sponsored by Irish organizations, will begin at 12 noon on Saturday, March 12, at Atlanta’s Ralph McGill Boulevard and end at Underground Atlanta. The new consul-general will be the grand marshal.
On Thursday, March 17, at 10:30 a.m., Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will be the principal celebrant and homilist with priests of the archdiocese as concelebrants for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta. The celebration is open to all and will feature a reception following the Mass with Irish dancers and homemade scones, Irish soda bread and other home-baked goods.