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St. Patrick's Day Celebration

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Hosted by local Irish societies, etc., this annual gala honors St. Patrick, Ireland's patron saint. Events include a parade, an Irish flag-raising, Irish luncheons, live Irish entertainment and more. Irish or not, visitors and locals alike are invited to "wear the green", attend the day's festivities and be "Irish for a day."

A walking tour of modern Charleston, South Carolina is sure to include a stop in front of the Hibernian Hall on Meeting Street. It reflects just one of the many contributions made by the Irish in Charleston's early days. Those contributions began with was an Irishman in the party of "English" settlers who arrived in 1670 to establish Charles Town. That man was Captain Florence O'Sullivan, for whom Sullivan's Island, which lies near Charleston Harbor, was named.

The first official act of the Society was as simple as it was symbolic. On March 17, 1979, the Irish Flag was raised over the Irish Volunteer Armory at 12 Vanderhorst Street and hence symbolically over the City of Charleston. The Keynote Speaker was the Honorable Joseph Patrick Riley, Jr., in his first term as mayor and only the second Irish Catholic to hold that office in Charleston's history.

The next year the flag was raised over the Old Citadel, then a county office building, hence symbolically over the County of Charleston.

Since 1981, the flag has been raised over City Hall and this ceremony has become one of the most anticipated events of St. Patrick's Day in Charleston.

The Society has grown from an interested few to an ardent multitude with over two hundred members.

The Society has succeeded in raising awareness within the community of the contribution of the Irish in Charleston, the State and the Nation.

The Irish arrived on these shores over the years impoverished and for the most part unwelcome. Their assimilation into the fabric of society, an economic necessity, has been so successful that the present generation has found itself almost without ethnic identity, The South Carolina Irish Historical Society is helping reverse that trend and, in doing so, reserving for posterity that which makes us Irish.

One of the current goals of the Society, along with the support of the Charleston Hibernians and the Ancient Order of Hibernians, is the construction of a permanent memorial to honor the Irish of Charleston and throughout South Carolina.

The concept of such a memorial was born almost simultaneously with the founding of the Society. It has slowly but relentlessly moved forward. The City of Charleston has graciously set aside the end of Charlotte Street from Concord Street to the Cooper River, a most appropriate site since it is the location where many of the early Irish immigrants first stepped ashore in America.

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