Ballinamuck native Rosemarie L Mellody created history on Friday when she became the first ever female Grand Marshal of the Newark St Patrick’s Day Parade in New Jersey.
Rosemarie’s brother, an immensely proud Michael Lennon, told the Leader that the parade was a resounding success and it was a memorable occasion. “A very large crowd turned out and the sun was shining all day.”
Michael, his wife Celine, his sister Bridie Reilly and Rosemarie’s friend, Mary Kate Gallagher, made the trip to Newark for ‘the grandfather of all the St Patrick’s Day parades’.
Rosemarie, who said she was honoured to be chosen as Grand Marshal, remarked, “I am very privileged to have been selected the first woman Grand Marshal in the 80-year history of the Newark St Patrick’s Day Parade.”
She added, “A lot of Irish immigrants have come through, and achieved great things, in the city of Newark. I hope this parade opens the gates for the next generation of people, especially women, to strive for their goals all around New Jersey.”
Rosemarie is married to Galway native, Harry Mellody and they have three children -Michael (married to Denise), Sheila (married to Peter Gonzalez) and John.
And her three grand-children - Padraic and Mairead Gonzalez and Gavin Mellody - marched side-by-side with her in the parade.
In her role as Grand Marshal, Rosemarie had many roles to fulfill. At a Montclair Council meeting, she was presented with a congratulatory proclamation awarded by the Council from Councilman William Hurlock and Mayor Robert Jackson.
She met with Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo and there was also the ceremonial painting of the Gibbons P.C. Green Line with Mayor of Newark Ras Baraka.
She attended the 72nd annual dinner dance of the Friends of Brian Boru and Montclair’s Ancient Order of Hibernians Michael L Delahunty Division 9’s 115th anniversary dinner dance, both at Mayfair Farms. Rosemarie also addressed members of the County Longford Association at their annual dinner dance in Astoria on Sunday evening last, March 15.
Most Rev Bernard A Hebda, Archbishop of Newark, celebrated Mass on the morning of the parade and dignitaries on the parade review grandstand alongside Rosemarie included Deputy Grand Marshal Fr Pat Donohue, Mayor of Newark Ras J Baraka and New Jersey Assemblyman Thomas P Giblin.
State Senate President Steve Sweeney was among the many major political figures that marched in the parade and among the bands that performed was the Castlerea Pipe Band from Roscommon.