2019 Boston Irish Honorees are (front row): Kathleen Drew and John Drew, Grace Cotter Regan and Jim Carmody. Pictured with them are staff of the Boston Irish Reporter, Maureen Forry Sorrell, Linda Dorcena Forry, Bill Forry and BIR publisher Ed Forry. (Margaret Brett Hasting photo).
On Friday, Oct. 18, more than 300 gathered at a luncheon at the Seaport Boston Hotel for the 10th Boston Irish Honors to salute two women and two men who have inspired us with their vision, their hard work and their caring for others.
The event honored Jim Carmody, Kathy and John Drew, and Grace Cotter Regan. It will come as little surprise to our audience to learn that all of them have strong ties or roots in Dorchester. Carmody, who runs the Seaport Boston Hotel, grew up in Neponset. Regan, who’s dad Jim Cotter was born and raised in Savin Hill, is the president of Dorchester’s BC High. Kathy Drew grew up on Elm Street in Dorchester, near Fields Corner. They will join many other Dorchester people and families — the Bretts, the Hunts, the Mulvoys, the Walshes, the Corcorans, and others— who have been recognized at this event. Last year, we honored Bob and Mary Scannell, the couple who run the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester.
The Irish Reporter has been a part of the Reporter’s extended family of newspapers and online publications since 1990. (The Forry family, which owns and operates the Boston Irish Reporter, Dorchester Reporter and Mattapan Reporter, has deep roots in Ireland.)
In 2010, when we first gathered with a small group of advisors and friends to launch the annual luncheon, we had two central ideas in mind. First, we hoped to honor the remarkable people and families in our community who truly exemplify the best qualities of the Boston Irish. In telling their stories, which speak to our heritage both here and in Ireland, we seek to reaffirm our immigrant roots and recall, with gratitude, the men and women who came here and made Boston our home.
Boston is an exceptional city because of all the cultures that have joined together to make it their home. It’s a team effort. But, we feel it is important for those of us with roots in Ireland to tell our story— for the benefit of our children, ourselves, and those who are coming next.
The other notion behind this luncheon was to create an event that supports our brand of community journalism. Since 1990, the Boston Irish Reporter has been a key source of information for a constantly evolving, dynamic Irish American community in this region. By necessity, and quite naturally, we have evolved, too, and we have survived in a media environment that has proven to be quite challenging.
Next year will begin a new chapter in our Boston Irish story. We are preparing to re-launch our website, BostonIrish.com. In the coming months, BostonIrish.com will become our primary vehicle for publishing our work. The print edition of the Boston Irish Reporter will continue in a seasonal form— but it will no longer be a monthly publication. This transition is an exciting one for our news organization, which continues to draw talented and dynamic reporters and editors to our newsroom.
Mayor Martin Walsh, a past honoree who serves as an honorary co-chair of the Boston Irish Honors, was one of the speakers at this year’s event. In years past, the mayor has taken the opportunity to speak to this largely Irish-American audience about the unique responsibility we— as the descendants of new Bostonians— have to those who have joined us here from all points on the compass.
This is why we choose to celebrate our heritage in such a fashion. It’s a reminder about where we have come from— and that we are never far removed from the struggle and hardships that face so many of our newly arrived neighbors.
- Ed & Bill Forry