Irish Heritage Day was celebrated at the Washington Nationals Park for the second year.

Senator George Mitchell on Sunday received an Irish Spirit Award as part of Irish Heritage Day celebrated at the Washington Nationals Park. Now in its second year at the home of the Capital’s baseball team, Irish Heritage Day saw a pregame festival with Irish food and beverages, all raising funds for local St Patrick’s Day festivities for 2019.

“It is wonderful to see our Irish heritage celebrated by the capital’s baseball team, the Washington Nationals and I am delighted with the opportunity to showcase Ireland’s excellent food and beverage products and to highlight our success story on that front,” said Ambassador Mulhall ahead of the event. The ambassador threw in the first pitch of the game as part of the celebration.

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Image: John McShane.

Image: John McShane.

“I was honored to be asked to throw out the ceremonial first pitch,” he added.

“As many baseball fans know, the history of the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball is rich in Irish heritage from its early formation through today. More than 1,100 players who rose to the top of the professional ranks between 1871 and 1920 were Irish-born or Irish American. The Nationals’ roster of the time included Irish surnames like Farrell, Gilligan, O’Day, Donnelly and Dealy — perhaps their hurling skills brought from Ireland served them well in the US!

“The success and interest in Irish Heritage Day is an excellent example of Irish American organizations and individuals coming together in innovative ways to celebrate their Irish heritage and I very much applaud that.”

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Image: John McShane.

Image: John McShane.

Of the award presented to Senator George Mitchell, Ambassador Mulhall described it as “as a fitting recognition for the enormously important work the Senator did in helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland with the Good Friday Agreement.”

All monies raised from the festival were to benefit local St. Patrick’s Day parades — the Alexandria, Washington DC and Baltimore St. Patrick’s Day parades and the Irish Radio Show.

Did you attend Irish Heritage Day? Let us know about it in the comments section, below.