Top 100 – 2011 – Irish America Irish America Magazine Sat, 20 Jul 2019 03:40:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 82361074 Lawrence Welsh Mon, 26 Dec 2011 17:44:17 +0000 Read more..]]> Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, first-generation Irish-American writer and poet Lawrence Welsh has lived an interesting and varied life in America’s Southwest. In 1979, he co-founded and wrote songs for the L.A.-based punk band The Alcoholics. The band broke up in 1982, releasing only one 7-inch, 5-song EP titled Alcoholics. Welsh then switched gears, enrolling at El Camino College in Gardena, CA, where he ended up in a journalism class, finding his passion. He graduated with a degree in journalism from California State University, Long Beach in 1987. Two years later, Welsh traveled to the Southwest for the first time, hitchhiking to New Mexico and Texas. Five years later, he moved to El Paso, TX, where he still lives today.

His mother, Nancy Anne Hogan Welsh, emigrated from Nenagh, County Tipperary, to the U.S. after WW II. His father’s grandfather came to America from County Cork.

What is abundantly clear is that Welsh has lived his life amongst words, from his songwriting days with The Alcoholics to his award-winning journalism career to his poetry. In addition to being a nationally recognized spoken word artist, he has published seven books of poetry, the most recent being Carney Takedown. Welsh is a contributor to The Outlaw Poetry Network, Jacket Magazine, an online literary magazine and Pearl magazine, among others.

Among the many accolades he has received, Welsh has won The Bardsong Press Celtic Voice Writing Award in Poetry, Society of Professional Journalists Bill Farr Reporting Award, and the Copley Los Angeles Newspapers Award.

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Micky Ward Mon, 26 Dec 2011 17:43:25 +0000 Read more..]]> “Irish” Micky Ward is a tough fighter with a humble outlook, whose life was portrayed by Mark Wahlberg in the Oscar-nominated 2010 biopic, The Fighter. The Lowell, Massachusetts native is a retired junior welterweight boxer who holds a World Boxing Union championship. His family traces their Irish heritage back to Co. Cork.

Before turning professional in 1985, Ward was a three-time New England Golden Gloves champion. He ended his first year as a pro with 14 undefeated fights. Upon losing four consecutive fights, Ward took a break from boxing in 1990. A few years later, his older half-brother and trainer, Dickie Eklund, convinced Ward to take up the sport again.

Ward continued to have success in his career upon his return. He won championship fights and became a WBU Light Welterweight Champion in 2000. A 2001 ten-round fight against Emanuel Burton became The Ring magazine’s Fight of the Year.

Ward is best known for a series of three fights against Arturo Gatti. He won the first fight in May 2001 after dropping Gatti in the ninth round with a left hook. The match was named as Fight of the Year for 2002 by The Ring, the “Fight of the Century” by boxing fans and writers, and the ninth round of the fight was named the “Round of the Century” by the co-host of the match, which was broadcast on HBO. In two following rematches, the battles between the two were close, but Gatti won. The third match, which sent both competitors to the hospital, was named Fight of the Year for 2003.

After a 15-year professional career, Ward retired in 2003 with a 38-13 record and 27 knockouts. He now runs a gym in Lowell and is the part owner of an outdoor hockey rink. This is Ward’s third time being honored in Irish America’s Top 100.

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Bennett Walsh Mon, 26 Dec 2011 17:42:28 +0000 Read more..]]> Lieutenant Colonel Bennett Walsh is one of seven children of Kateri and Dan Walsh of Springfield, Mass. He served three tours in Iraq and was under fire in Somalia commanding the same platoon that his father commanded in Vietnam: the 2nd Platoon, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, First Marines. He returned from Afghanistan on September 25th, where he was the Current Operations Officer for the First Marine Division. Col. Walsh, who is married to Shannon and the father of Molly, Bennett, Jr., Siobhan and Norah, represents the many Americans of Irish descent who are serving in our military. We wish them Godspeed and a safe return home.

Since March 13th, Walsh has been activated to Japan, where, as a part of Operation Tomodachi, he is aiding in the evacuation of American citizens and helping the Japanese in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami. As he has told Irish America before, he said “I could not do any of this without the love and dedication of my wife Shannon and the kids. They are the hidden heroes of the US Military.”

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Mark Wahlberg Mon, 26 Dec 2011 17:41:37 +0000 Read more..]]> He may have recently played the role of Irish Micky Ward in The Fighter, but Mark Wahlberg has some Irish heritage himself. “Wahlberg” may not sound very Irish, but his family tree includes members by the names of Bradley, Doherty, Dunn and Donnelly. His great-grandmother Sarah A. Doherty was born in Ireland in 1873.

Wahlberg had a rough start in his early life. After his parents divorced when he was 11, he dropped out of school and entered the troubled world of stealing, hustling and drug dealing. After spending some time in prison for beating a man, Wahlberg knew he had to make some serious life changes.

He built himself up physically and entered the entertainment industry. With a little help from his New Kids On The Block brother, Donnie, Wahlberg became Marky Mark, the rapper of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch in 1991. The group recorded the #1 song “Good Vibrations,” which boosted Wahlberg’s fame. He also became known for his good physique, which landed him a job as an underwear model for Calvin Klein.

After a fall from the music world, Marky Mark simply became Mark Wahlberg and he decided to try out acting. His first role was in a 1993 TV movie called The Substitute. The following year, he was in the big-screen movie Renaissance Man, with Danny De Vito. Wahlberg went on to star in memorable roles in Boogie Nights, Three Kings, The Perfect Storm, The Italian Job, and The Departed.

Wahlberg has been nominated for many awards including Academy Awards for The Fighter and The Departed and Emmys for his production on the television show Entourage.

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Paige Turilli Mon, 26 Dec 2011 17:40:40 +0000 Read more..]]> Paige Turilli, a fourteen-year-old Freshman at Pearl River High School in Pearl River, NY is the girls under 15 current World Champion of the all-Ireland finals in Irish-step dancing – and has been first in her age group for the past two years.

Turilli studies at the Innisfree School of Irish Dancing. In an interview with the Pearl River Patch, she said that she attends two to three classes a week, and rehearses frequently on a practice stage in her home.
The young Irish dancing champion is Italian on her father’s side and Irish on her mother’s, whose grandparents emigrated from Ireland. Interestingly enough, her dad is more involved with her dancing, accompanying her to all her classes, competitions and feis, while her mother works and stays at home with Paige’s two sisters.

Turilli is a straight-A student and enrolled in all honors classes. We congratulate her on her second consecutive win at world’s!

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John Sweeney Mon, 26 Dec 2011 17:39:59 +0000 Read more..]]> On Tuesday, February 15, President Barack Obama presented a Medal of Freedom to John Sweeney, the renowned labor leader. Sweeney was honored for his work as President of the AFL-CIO (1995-2009), bringing new life to the American labor movement and working hard to protect the American worker.

Born in the Bronx, New York, to Irish immigrant parents (Agnes, a domestic worker, and Joseph, a city bus driver), Sweeney’s commitment to the American labor movement began as a young boy when his father took him to numerous union meetings. He became a union representative with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union in 1956 and spent the next 53 years addressing the needs of American workers. He co-authored two books, including America Needs a Raise: Fighting for Economic Security and Social Justice.

He is married to Maureen Power, a former schoolteacher, and has two grown children: John, an information technology professional, and Patricia, who works for the AFL-CIO. Sweeney was Irish American of the Year in 2004.

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Anne Sweeney Mon, 26 Dec 2011 17:39:11 +0000 Read more..]]> One of the most successful women in television, Anne Sweeney is Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks and President of Disney-ABC Television Group. We were honored to have Sweeney as our Keynote Speaker at our annual Business 100 luncheon last November. She gave a heartfelt speech in which she told what her Irish heritage meant to her, mentioning that her great grandfather, Hugh Tormay, was “just thirteen when he made the trip over from Ireland, leading his six-year-old brother and his four-year-old sister into the unknown.”

Sweeney was born in Kingston, New York and graduated from College of New Rochelle and Harvard University. She has been named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business by Fortune and one of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes. She is a recipient of the Cable Television Public Affairs Association’s President’s Award, the Golden Mike Award for Outstanding Contributions to Broadcasting by the Broadcasters Foundation of America, and the Matrix Award for television from New York Women in Communications, Inc.

Sweeney was elected director of the International Council of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2001. In 2007, she was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame. She has received the Committee of 200’s Luminary Award, and just this past October became the first female executive in history to receive MIPCOM’s Personality of the Year honor.

Sweeney, who earned a BA from the College of New Rochelle and an EdM from Harvard, traces her roots to Meath, Kerry and Mayo.

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Timothy S. Sullivan Mon, 26 Dec 2011 17:37:38 +0000 Read more..]]> Rear Admiral Timothy S. Sullivan has been protecting the seas and serving the country since he graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1975. Since then, he has worked his way up to Commander, Force Readiness Command as of June 2009, has held the position of Deputy Commander, Pacific Area.

Prior to these appointments, Rear Admiral Sullivan served as Commander, First Coast Guard District, Commander and Maritime Defense Command One. He was also the primary coordinator between the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security as Senior Military Advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Rear Admiral Sullivan has been there in some of America’s toughest times. He transferred to the Department of Homeland Security after serving as Commanding Officer, Group San Francisco, during the events of 9/11. During Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, he acted as operational advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security.

For his services, Read Admiral Sullivan has been given several awards, including the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Coast Guard Commendation Medal, the 9-11 Medal, and the Coast Guard Achievement Medal. He is also authorized to wear the Cutterman’s Insignia.

Rear Admiral Sullivan was born in Milwaukee and traces his ancestral roots back to Cork.

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KT Sullivan Mon, 26 Dec 2011 17:20:17 +0000 Read more..]]> Renowned cabaret singer KT Sullivan has music in her blood. Born and raised in Oklahoma, she was one of eight children born to Jim and Betty Sullivan. Her father was a director of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service and her mother is a professional singer and hymn composer. At one point, KT, her mother and seven siblings performed as The Sullivan Family Gospel Singers.

A frequent headliner at such spots as the Oak Room of New York’s Algonquin Hotel and Jermyn Street Theatre in London, Sullivan has developed a reputation for being a fearless and effervescent singer. She has headlined at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and performed all over the world including at La Nouvelle Eve in Paris. Sullivan’s Broadway credits include the 1989 revival of the Threepenny Opera and the 1995 revival of Gentleman Prefer Blondes.

Throughout her career, she has recorded numerous albums, the most recent being 2010’s Timeless Tunes Etched in Granite, which includes a medley of ‘Kathleen’ songs: “Come Back to Erin,” “Kathleen Mavourneen.” And “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen,” the song her that inspired her father to name her Kathleen.

KT’s great-great-grandfather came over from County Kerry during the famine, emigrating first to Boston, then to Birmingham, Alabama. On her grandmother’s side, the Corbetts hailed from County Cork. KT stays true to her Irish roots not only by performing St. Patrick’s Day shows and including Irish songs in her repertoire, but in her personal life as well.

She is married to prominent Irish-American and former president of the Yeats Society Stephen Downey. Sullivan currently is performing her new cabaret show “Rhyme, Women and Song” at The Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel through May 28th.

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Tommy Smyth Mon, 26 Dec 2011 17:19:24 +0000 Read more..]]> Tommy Smyth has a lot to say about football, or soccer as Americans know it. Smyth has one of the most recognizable Irish broadcast voices in the world as he has been a sports broadcaster and soccer analyst on ESPN since 1993.

Following a short football career with his hometown team in County Louth, Ireland, Smyth moved to the United States in 1993. He continued playing with the Shamrock Club of the German American Soccer League. Smyth became well known in the New York Irish community by commentating on games in Gaelic Park in the Bronx. He soon became known as the “Voice of New York’s Gaelic Park.”

While working for ESPN, Smyth has done commentary on many international games, the UEFA Champions League, and even several world cup matches. However his commentary isn’t limited to sports. Smyth’s voice can be heard on WNBC on St. Patrick’s Day as he serves as a commentator for the New York City parade. In 2008, he was chosen as the 247th Grand Marshal for the celebration.

Tommy Smyth is particularly known for his memorable trademark comments during games. He is often heard calling a goal “a bulge in the old onion bag.” He signs off every commentary saying “Tommy Smyth with a Y,” making sure no one forgets his name.

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