Irish workers rebuild World Trade Center after 9/11 tragedy
Irish father and son , side by side, help reshape New York skyline
“When people ask what you do for living, it‘s great to say you’re working on the rebuild of the World Trade Center.
“The hours are long, early mornings and late nights, it can be exhausting but it’s just the fact of being part of something historical. It means a lot.”
Opening this coming weekend, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is complete and looks impressive from the elevated view of Tower Four.
“The memorial is a big reminder. Those are the footprints of the original Twin Towers the fountains are on and we have a nice view of them,” Patrick said. “It’s great to watch everything come together.”
Another Kerry native, Denis Delahunty, said when the opportunity arose he volunteered to work on Ground Zero.
“I was working on a Port Authority job when word has come down that they needed people for Ground Zero,” the iron worker recalls.
“A lot of people just wanted to be part of it. People by nature want to be on bigger jobs but a lot are native New Yorkers who have an emotional attachment to the job,” he told the Irish Voice.
Delahunty recalls his mother bringing him to the World Trade Center site as a child, standing in the square between the Twin Towers. He still vividly remembers their enormity and scale.
Decades later, when he first began working on the reconstruction in October 2009, he admits the site was ghostly at times. Delahunty worked on several of the buildings that make up the site.
“If you go down to the PATH station hub into the sub, sub basements, you can still see the occasional relic from the initial towers...a sign perhaps, something that was hanging or scraps that were left over.
“All the way down in the hold it can be eerie at night when there is no one else around,” he said.
Despite the site initially being hampered by delays, Delahunty says it is great to see so many jobs being produced.
“When they started they were happy things were finally going as it coincided with the general downturn in the economy, otherwise thousands tradesmen would be out of work,” he told the Irish Voice.
Ground Zero remains a popular tourist destination, with thousands descending on Lower Manhattan each day to catch a glimpse of the redevelopment.
“You can be conscious of the fact you are being watched all the time. It was definitely strange seeing the flashbulbs go off all around the perimeter of the site,” he said.
Despite being a source of concern for some relatives, the Westchester resident admits that he that his involvement with the rebuild will be something he will always cherish.
“My family thought it was great, but there was a certain amount of worry as some people felt that if they decided to go again it would be a target,” Delahunty said.
“But on the same token it’s great because you can always tell people years from now that you were part of history.”
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