Erin go Bragh

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Manassas St. Patrick’s Day Parade


By Jennifer Rader, Contributing Writer

Dancers, kilted drum corps and Irish wolf hounds will regale Center Street in Old Town Manassas as the 12th Annual Manassas St. Patrick’s Day Parade flows through town in celebration of the Irish heritage that shaped Virginia’s northwestern frontier—a frontier that, in the 18th century, found Irish immigrants without the financial resources to invest in the more expensive New England port areas. Possessing the determination and prowess to overcome the harsh frontier, Irish immigrant families settled on unpopulated tracts of land in the Shenandoah Valley.

irish kilts“The Irish have made significant contributions in the shaping of Virginia and this county. That is something we are very proud of,” says Vince Fitzpatrick, President of Inisfail, Inc.—organizers and hosts of the annual parade.

Inisfail, which borrows the pre-Christian name for Ireland meaning “Isle of Destiny,” was created and incorporated as the nonprofit planning organization after the success of the inaugural parade in 2000. And from the sound of it, Manassas’ St. Patrick’s Day parade provides a little Isle of Destiny in itself for Old Town Manassas.

Planning for the Manassas St. Patrick’s Day parade began with the Father Kelley Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians long before its first walk down Center Street. In January 1999 preparations began with the support of the George Brent Council 5332, Knights of Columbus.

“The Greater Manassas St. Patrick’s Day Parade began 12 years ago in recognition of the many families of Irish heritage in Manassas, Prince William County and the surrounding communities,” explains Fitzpatrick. The goal is a fun-filled family celebration day regardless of whether or not your ancestry includes shades of green.

The 12th Annual Manassas St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on Saturday, March 12, at 11:00 a.m., beginning at the corner of Quarry Road and Prescott Avenue. Follow the McGrath Academy of Irish Dance, the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps and the Northern Virginia Firefighters Emerald Society Pipe and Drum Band, among other participants, down Center Street to the reviewing stand at the Loy E. Harris Pavilion.

Richard Aleksy, president of the State of Virginia Ancient Order of Hibernians and Inisfail founding board member, will join a prestigious list of past parade grand marshals that includes Colonel Mike Reilly, USMC, Afghanistan war veteran; Chief Kevin McGee, Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue; Colonel John J. Kelley, U.S. Army, retired; and, the Honorable Sean T. Connaughton, the current secretary of transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The parade is made possible by the financial contributions of the George Brent Council of the Knights of Columbus, Manassas; Dudley Martin Chevrolet; Medical Missionaries; Comcast; Old Towne Sports Pub; American Legion Post 10; TD Bank; Philadelphia Tavern and Dublin of Old Town.

“We at Inisfail invite everyone to celebrate with us this year and for many years to come,” proclaimed Fitzpatrick.

A nonprofit development director for 10 years, Jennifer Rader now works as a freelance writer and consultant. She lives with her son and husband in Manassas and can be reached at

Irish Sayings and Proverbs

INTERESTING FACT: The popular phrase “Erin go Bragh” (or “Erin go Braugh”) is the Anglican version of the Gaelic phrase “Éirinn go Brách,” which means “Ireland forever.”

Hunger is a tasty sauce. Is maith an t-anlann an t-ocras.

A rainy day isn’t a day for the children. Ní hé lá na báistí lá na bpáistí.

Little is best if well done. Is deas an rud an beagán ach é a dhéanamh go maith.

A beetle recognizes another beetle. Aithníonn ciaróg ciaróg eile.

He who loses his reputation loses his shame. An té a chaillfeas a chlú, caillfidh sé a náire.

May the bearer of the news be safe. Gura slán an scéalaí.

If you are as strong as an oak tree, death will still vanquish you. Dá mbeifeá chomh láidir le crann darach, gheobhadh an bás an ceann is fearr ort.

Laziness is a heavy burden. Is trom an t-ualach an leisce.

A (true) friend’s eye is a good mirror. Is maith an scáthán súil charad.

There are two versions of/two sides to every story and (at least) 12 versions of every song. Bíonn dhá insint ar scéal agus dhá leagan déag ar amhrán

A debt is still unpaid, even if forgotten. Ní dhíolann dearmad fiacha.

A wren only has need for its nest. Is leor don dreoilín a nead.

It isn’t a trick until it is done three times. Ní cleas é go ndéantar trí huaire é.

Beware of the anger of a patient man. Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde.

A light heart lives longest. Maireann croí éadrom i bhfad.

It is the quiet pigs that eat the meal. Is iad na muca ciúine a itheann an mhin.

Many a time a man’s mouth broke his nose. Is minic a bhris béal duine a shrón.

An empty sack won’t stand. Ní sheasann sac folamh.

May God not weaken your hand. Nár laga Dia do lámh.

The north wind’s heat or the cold of the south wind means rain.

Teas gaoithe aduaidh nó fuacht gaoithe aneas, sin báisteach.

He who is not strong must needs be cunning! An té nach mbíonn láidir ní folláir dó bheith glic

An awkward colt often becomes a beautiful horse. Is minic a rinne bromach gioblach capall cumasach.

There is no knowledge without unity. Ni heolas go haontios.

A windy day is no day for thatching. Ní hé lá na gaoithe lá na scoilbe.

A hint is sufficient for the wise. Is leor nod don eolach.

He who marries money marries a fool. An té a phósfas an t-airgead, pósfaidh sé óinseach.

A row between friends is short lasting; even if bitter it is never long. Is neamhbhuan cogadh na gcarad; má bhíonn sé crua, ní bhíonn sé fada.

The craft comes from the head. Is ón cheann a thagann an cheird.

As old as the mist and older by two. Chomh sean leis an cheo agus níos sine faoi dhó.

Lose your reputation to regain it, but it is never the same. Caill do chlú agus faigh ar ais é, agus ní hé an rud céanna é.

Health’s doctor is sleep. Dochtúir na sláinte an codladh.

Never take advice without a woman’s guidance. Ná glac pioc comhairle gan comhairle ban.

Find more Irish sayings and proverbs online at:


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