Our Town O’Neill: Irish Walk of Fame

Pure Nebraska
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 10:59 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2022 at 11:20 AM CDT
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O’Neill, Neb. (KOLN) - The community of O’Neill is making a big effort to honor people who helped, and continue to help, make the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration what it is today.

We visited with Ryan Parks about the “Irish Walk of Fame.” “This started in 2014,” Parks said. “A group of people got together and wanted to bring more excitement around St. Patrick’s Day. An idea came up to honor those who started it all. We had an induction ceremony in 2015 with four members. Every year since, we’ve inducted two members. By far, my favorite part is after we vote, we go to talk to the families of the recipients, and that’s an exciting time.”

“The first induction featured some of the people who’d been there from day one,” Parks said. “Pete Matthews, Allen Reynoldsen, Ronnie Smith to name some of them.” Their names on the four corners of the street right by the big shamrock in downtown O’Neill. It’s a prideful moment to be selected for the Irish Walk of Fame. “If you think a family member or friend is deserving, then we have you fill out a biography, and we vote on it,” Parks said. “And as you read the biographies of the people who won, you’ll see these people did a lot of things.”

So not only is there a walk of fame featuring plaques in the sidewalks downtown, but you can go to a local gathering spot called Chesterfield’s West to see more connected to the Irish Walk of Fame. Several biographies are featured on the back wall, around a big shamrock. The Wednesday before St. Patrick’s Day every year, there is a recognition evening. Then Saturday morning, the recipients of the award are then featured in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.