St. Patrick's Day is a little more than six weeks away and The Greenwich Hibernian Association is in full swing with preparations for its 39th annual celebration and parade.
And the added bonus this year is that parade will be held on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.
The parade will be led by this year’s Grand Marshal William Connolly. It will start at 2 p.m. March 17, at Greenwich Town Hall, 101 Field Point Rd. Marchers will proceed up Field Point Road, along West Putnam Avenue and then down Greenwich Avenue.
Before the parade, the Hibernians will hold its annual Irish flag-raising ceremony at Town Hall at 9:30 a.m. Members will then attend the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Mary Church on Greenwich Avenue. The public is invited to both the flag raising and Mass.
Connolly, who's known as Billy, will be installed as the grand marshal of the parade at the Greenwich Hibernian's annual St. Patrick’s dinner dance on March 2.
Connolly may be a lifelong Greenwich resident but his Irish heritage runs deep. His father, William, was born in Carlow, Ireland. His mother, Christina Moran Connolly was born in America, but her father, Michael Moran was born in County Cork, Ireland and her mother, Bridget Milligan Moran was born in County Galway, Ireland.
Connolly attended St. Mary’s Grammar School in Greenwich and from there went to St. Thomas Seminary. He is a self taught artist well known for his pen and ink drawings. His first drawing was of St. Mary Church on Greenwich Avenue. Connolly said he is proud that that drawing is still used on church stationery. He has also made drawings of many other local landmarks. Many of his drawings include a squirrel, which is Connolly's nickname.
Connolly's long career began as a Greenwich Time paperboy. He also worked as a pants presser in his father’s tailor shop, a clerk and butcher at the former Quinn’s Market on Greenwich Avenue and an altar boy at St. Mary Church.
He still serves as what he calls "the world’s oldest altar boy" at Sacred Heart Church in Port Chester, NY. Connolly served in the United States Marine Corps. He also was a drummer in the Greenwich Police Pipes & Drums Band.
Of all his achievements, Connolly considers his children, Billy, Timmy, Jane and Beth, to be the greatest.