In Kansas City we’ve just wrapped up another great St Paddy’s Day Parade and celebration. Known as one of the largest parades in the country complete with a Gaelic mass at one of the oldest churches in the city, local clans start the day where they have for 126 years at Browne’s Irish Market for breakfast.
Our first St. Patrick’s Day celebration stems back to 1875 when the Kansas City Star declared it ” the most noble pageant of the year.” The parade ended in 1891 but was resurrected some 82 years later with a renewed fervor.
Kansas City loves it’s Irish ancestry with not just one but six local parades and events to warm up for the main event on St Paddy’s Day – inviting everyone to be Irish for the day.
It makes one wonder where would Kansas City be without our Irish immigrants. The fact is, our skyline would look drastically different. It was predominately the Irish that changed the topography downtown from the limestone bluffs that once resembled canyons. Today we enjoy the gracefully graded streets from the river banks through downtown and have the Irish to thank for it. Brick by brick and pick by pick, some 300 workers from the Irish province of Connaught led by Father Donnelly (Kansas City’s first Catholic and Irish born priest) paved our downtown streets along with the many Irish immigrants he recruited from the east coast. Father Donnelly’s experience in civil engineering and stone cutting was a good partner to another Irishman, Edmond O’Flaherty, appointed at the time to the position of City Engineer.
Many descendants of these immigrants now celebrate St. Patrick’s day in Kansas City each year by parading down the gentle grade of the very streets created by their predecessors.