Maureen O’Hara is inducted into Irish America Hall of Fame
Bill Clinton, Irish president Mary McAleese pay tribute to a legend
Actress Maureen O’Hara , 90, was formally inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in Wexford on Friday.
Former President Bill Clinton and Irish President Mary McAleese sent messages of congratulations to O’Hara on the occasion.
Former US President Bill Clinton stated, "After a career as Hollywood's 'unofficial ambassador' from the Emerald Isle, you've earned the respect and admiration of colleagues and fans alike."
He continued, "As a longtime admirer of your work and a fellow Irish-American, I thank you for all that you've done to nurture our world's appreciation for the Irish culture."
President Mary McAleese stated: “During her long and distinguished acting career, Maureen's great talent has brought joy and great pleasure to many thousands of people all over the world. However, despite her worldwide success and popularity, Maureen has never lost her strong connection with Ireland and has always made us very proud to claim her as 'one of our own'."
The President went on to say: "I would like to thank Maureen for all she has contributed to this country's reputation abroad. I would like to congratulate her on all she has achieved and wish her continued success and happiness."
The Irish America Hall of Fame is the centerpiece of a new visitor center, which has been developed in collaboration with publishers Niall O’Dowd and Patricia Harty of Irish America Magazine.
Speaking at Friday's ceremony, Editor Patricia Harty of Irish America Magazine said, “We in Irish America are delighted to have a permanent home for our Hall of Fame in Dunbrody’s magnificent new Irish Emigration History Centre in New Ross, Co. Wexford.
"And we are particularly pleased to be welcoming Maureen O’Hara as our latest inductee into our Hall of Fame. As a star of 60 films, O’Hara lit up the silver screen and engaged the hearts of viewers the world over, but she never forgot her roots, and always proudly declared, ‘Yes, I am most definitely an Irishwoman.’"
The Hall of Fame celebrates and honours the lives, works and achievements of noted Irish individuals and focuses on the stories of famous descendants, such as President John F Kennedy, literary genius Eugene O'Neill, business giant Donald Keough of Coca-Cola, whose family were from New Ross, and Buffalo Bill, whose family can be traced back to Wexford.
Other honorees include former US President Bill Clinton, Ambassador Jean Kennedy-Smith, force for progress in the peace process Bill Flynn, DNA inventor Dr James Watson, philanthropist Chuck Feeney, medical doctor and humanitarian Dr Kevin Cahill, Wall Street titan Denis Kelleher and bestselling author Mary Higgins-Clark.
The Dunbrody visitor center is a brand new €2.6 million building, €1.88m of which was provided under the National Development Plan, administered by Failte Ireland on behalf of the Department of Tourism.
During the ceremony, music was provided by performers David Creevey, Sharon Stone and Garard Farrelly; son of the late Dick Farrelly who composed The Isle of Innisfree, which became the theme of the film, The Quiet Man.
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