The 248th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade drew hundreds of thousands of people along Fifth Avenue, and the festive mood was heightened by great weather and the popularity of the man who led it. Michael J. Gibbons,  son of an immigrant father from County Mayo and a mother from Nova Scotia of Scots Irish descent.

Raised in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, Mike graduated from Saint Francis College in Brooklyn and served in the U.S. Navy.  And yesterday around noon, after he had welcomed New York’s new pastor Archbishop Dolan, who replaces Cardinal Egan, he received a rousing standing ovation outside the General Motors Building at Grand Army Plaza on Fifth Avenue. This is the building where Mike worked for 42 years at Estee Lauder, the world’s leading cosmetic company.  

Mike served with distinction as the Vice President of Clinique and General Manager of Aramis. Once, when his  wife Cynthia, a prominent art dealer, was asked what Mike did for Estee Lauder, without missing a beat she said, "He made them lots of money."

Cynthia and Mike divide their time between Palm Beach, Florida and Carmel, New York. Widely known as President-Emeritus of The Ireland-U.S. Council, the organization that promotes business connections between Ireland and the U.S., Mike’s dedication to all things Irish has never failed to inspire those who know him.

Among the many friends of Irish Central proudly marching was Patricia Cunningham of Continental Airlines, Jim Houlihan of Houlihan-Parnes, Brian Stack of CIE Tours, Denis Kelleher of Wall Street Access, Barbara Kane O'Neill of Greenwich Investors, Pauline Turley of Irish Arts Center, along with many visitors from Ireland including Fergus, Agnes and Michael O'Dowd (all family members of our publisher Niall O'Dowd.)  

This was the second year the parade was telecast on the web around the world. And it was the first that we had our cameras along for the ride. Take a look.