Photographs By John Murray
Patrick “Bob” O’Rourke got a kiss from his wife Carol after he was officially named Irish Mayor for the Day during a cermony inside Waterbury City Hall yesterday morning, St. Patrick’s Day. O’Rourke was born in Waterbury and raised in the Abrigador neighborhood of the city.
O’Rourke served in the United States Air Force and spent 37 years working at Pratt & Whitney as a furnance operator. He has been a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians for nearly 50 years.
Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary watched Bob O’Rourke raise the Irish flag in a brief ceremony outside City Hall yesterday morning. The day began with a mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on West Main Street, followed by a short parade over to City Hall, a flag raising, a ceremony inside Veterans Memorial Hall, and an open house celebration at the Ancient Order of Hibernians on Golden Hill Street in the city’s South End.
The 26 counties of Ireland were represented with offical flags adding a colorful and dramatic flair to the festivities.
The Valley Chordsmen performed several hauntingly beautiful songs inside Veteran’s Memorial Hall.
When the Valley Chordsman sang “Danny Boy”, a song often performed at Irish funerals, many people in the audience openly wept.
The Irish packed Veteran’s Memorial Hall for what Mayor Neil O’Leary proclaimed to be, “the best turnout for a mayor for the day ceremony since I’ve been in office.”
Mayor O’Leary, left, is of Irish descent, and said he grew up listening to traditional Irish songs in his home. “My bedroom was right above where everyone was singing,” O’Leary said, “so I know the words to all the old songs.” O’Leary is pictured here seconds after proclaiming Bob O’Rourke Irish Mayor for the Day. Emmett McSweeney, in the background, is the Director of the Silas Bronson Library, and acted as master of ceremony for the event. 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is on the right.