The grand opening of the Irish Heritage Center of Greater Cincinnati in Columbia Tusculum could have been ruined when thieves stole kegs intended for the celebration.

Founding member, Maureen Kennedy, was preparing for the event last Saturday night when her husband, Kent Covey, called to tell her the news.

The five kegs of beer had been stolen from a refrigerated truck parked outside the center on East Avenue.

Police reports said the locks were cut off the trailer before the unknown criminals took off with three kegs of Guinness, one keg of
Smithwick's ale and one keg of Harp lager. The total value of the stolen goods was $850.

As well as this, some food held in the refrigerated truck was knocked to the ground, which had been intended to be served as hor d'oeuvres for the grand opening.

However, the setbacks did not prevent the Irish Heritage Center from going ahead with the event.

"The fighting Irish pulled together and whipped everything into shape," Kennedy said.

Members volunteered to substitute the stolen food and alcohol, assisting with the final plans to ensure the celebration ran smoothly
in spite of the robbery.

An estimated 250 people attended the launch at the former McKinley School, which was purchased by Mrs. Kennedy and Mr. Covey in 2009 for the Center.

The Center's opening included entertainment, music and dance, and Kennedy was delighted to announce that it had been a "phenomenal evening"

"We wouldn't let (the robbery) ruin our night," she said. "We figured out how to make it right. I guess the Irish are used to overcoming