Luck of the Irish


[portfolio_slideshow thumbs=true]Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. But, not everyone’s Irish mayor for the day.

Three local residents, who all have Irish blood running through their veins, were named honorary mayors for the day on St. Patrick’s Day.

It was the Great Potato Famine of 1845-1852 that caused a wave of emigration from Ireland to America said Naugatuck Burgess Patrick Scully, who was named Union City Irish Mayor for the Day.

“Ireland’s loss was America’s greatest gain. Many of those who settled here were the young and the poor who had left the starvation of Ireland. We are here to celebrate our Irish heritage. Let us honor those who came here to Naugatuck before us and created a better life and had made this country a better place to live,” Scully said, during a morning ceremony last Thursday outside of Naugatuck Town Hall.

While Scully claimed Union City for the day, it was borough resident John Kelly McSherry who was named Naugatuck’s Irish Mayor for the Day.

A father of five and WWII veteran, McSherry turns 92 this month and can trace his family roots in town back for 150 years.

“The McSherry family has been in Naugatuck for at least 150 years. I think we did very well. Thank you all for coming,” McSherry said.

Brian Brick, president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, welcomed McSherry to the podium and presented him with a documentation of appreciation declaring him honorary mayor of Naugatuck.

“The Irish community has such deep roots in Naugatuck, and more specifically, this McSherry family has done so much for the community, so a personal thank you and an honor to have you as our mayor of the day,” said state Rep. Rosa Rebimbas.

As dancers from the Horgan Irish Academy of dance performed in their brightly-colored Irish costumes before the crowd gathered in Naugatuck, the sound of bagpipes greeted Prospect’s Irish Mayor for the Day Nancy Sullivan some five miles away as she pulled into Prospect Town Hall, police escort and all.

“I’m very humbled and proud of my Irish heritage,” said Sullivan, as she took in the view from behind the mayor’s desk.

Sullivan said her grandmother was born on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland and would have turned 139 last week.

Naugatuck's Irish Mayor of the Day John Kelly McSherry thanks his supporters as part of St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Naugatuck.

“Everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. But, she’s got real Irish blood in her,” Prospect Mayor Bob Chatfield said.

Sullivan was surrounded by her family and friends as Chatfield signed a declaration formally inaugurating her.

After Chatfield made it official, he offered Sullivan one simple piece of advice.

“Just don’t spend any money,” Chatfield joked.

The Sullivans are no stranger to the mayor’s office though. Sullivan’s father-in-law is a former Irish Mayor for the Day himself.

“It feels good to have another Sullivan in the Town Hall” Sullivan said.

Laraine Weschler contributed to this article.