Celebrating Joe Biden and the 2013 Irish America Hall of Fame Inductees

On Thursday, March 21st Irish America was honored to induct the 2013 class of honorees into the Irish America Hall of Fame. Vice President Joe Biden, art collector and benefactor Brian Burns, businessman and philanthropist Bob Devlin, hotelier and humanitarian John Fitzpatrick and immigration reformer and former congressman Bruce Morrison were recognized and gave speeches at the 2013 awards luncheon in the Grand Salon of the J.W. Marriott Essex House in New York City.

After the 300 guest – including New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd and her sister Peggy, Consul General Noel Kilkenny and Hanora O’Dea Kilkenny, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers, authors Edna O’Brien and Colum McCann and actress Fionnula Flanagan – filled the grand salon, the honorees were led in by a bagpiper to the tune of Danny Boy.

Vice President Joe Biden was presented with a Waterford Crystal Boat Bowl to commerate the occasion. After being inaugurated by Irish America’s founding publisher Niall O’Dowd, the Vice President spoke movingly for half an hour on topics ranging from his Irish heritage and the journey of the Irish in America.

Former president of Coca-Cola Don Keough (whose immigrant ancestor also left the shores of New Ross for America) made a special presentation of a Waterford Crystal Lismore Vase to former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith, honoring her diplomatic work on peace in Northern Ireland and her furthering of the Kennedy family’s distinguished legacy of public service.