The Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame has announced its 2023 class of inductees. The Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame recognizes Irish Americans who have made important contributions in various fields throughout Michigan life.
— Philanthropy: Patrick O’Hara —
For over 40 years, Patrick O’Hara has been a respected member of the Detroit Irish Community. A Certified Public Account, Pat has donated his time and accounting expertise to many organizations in the Irish community. Pat was honored as the Grand Marshal of the Detroit St. Patrick’s Parade in 2008 and was selected as the Pallottine Man of Year for 2021 for his charitable works. He served as the National President of the Knights of Equity, and as the Worthy Supreme Knight of Court 6 in Detroit for 5 years. He currently serves on the Knights of Equity Scholarship Commission and as a delegate to the United Irish Societies. Pat also serves on the Board of Directors of the Irish Cultural Forum, chairs the judges’ committee for the St. Patrick’s Parade in Detroit, coordinates the annual Mass for the deceased members of the Irish community, and is a member of the Gaelic League, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Irish Network Detroit and much more.
Pat has also volunteered many hours to support Detroit Cristo Rey High School, serving on the Planning Committee to open the school and on the Board of Trustees. He currently serves as Treasurer for St. Patrick Senior Center in Detroit and on the Board for SPORT, an organization that supports Special Olympics and other recreational activities for children and adults with special needs
Pat is proud of his Irish heritage. His maternal ancestors, the Gallaghers and Bannons, immigrated from Ireland and settled in Stratford, Ontario in the 1850s. And his paternal great grandparents, the O’Haras and Monahons, immigrated from County Mayo, Ireland and settled in Westport, Ontario. In fact, the family enjoys spending their summers on Newboro Lake near Westport, Ontario on the farmland that his Irish ancestors settled in the 1840s.
Pat owns an accounting practice in Grosse Pointe and is married to Anne White O’Hara and has two children Julia Rose and Tom.
— Arts & Entertainment: Thomas F. O’Halloran —
Thomas O’Halloran, born in County Offlay, Ireland, was an only child and an orphan who learned to play the accordion by ear, and by the age of fourteen was playing at weddings and dances all over Ireland. After immigrating to Detroit in 1955, he established the “Irish Thirty-Two County Club” and later opened O’Halloran’s Tipperary Pub. The “Tip” soon became the home away from home for Irish immigrants, their children, and their children’s children. The Tipperary Pub hosted the Irish Rovers, the Dubliners, the Wolf Tones, the Clancy Brothers, Michael Flatley, and many more. For decades Tommy generously mentored and offered his stage to new musicians. Tom big-heartedly gave of his talent and leadership through his involvement in the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Irish Bar Owners Association, the Gaelic League of Detroit, the Friendly Sons, and the Knights of Equity. For his efforts he was honored as the Grand Marshal of the 2000 Detroit St. Patrick’s Parade. He was a deeply caring and faithful supporter of the St. Patrick’s Senior Center, the Irish Palatine Fathers, and numerous Irish immigrants as they settled in America. For more than 50 years, Tommy O’ Halloran enriched the lives of all who knew him with music. His parting request to his beloved wife, Joannie, was “Don’t let the music die.” As a member of this Hall of Fame, his musical legacy lives on.
— Arts & Entertainment: William David Lynch —
William (Liam) Lynch traces his family ancestry to County Cork and Kilkenny in Ireland. But it was not until 15 years ago when his daughter Meagan Andres opened an Irish gift shop in Grand Rapids that he seriously became involved in his Irish heritage and Irish events in Michigan and beyond. He created the popular website MiIrish.com, and also started working with Irish bands and established a concert series in Ionia called “The Celtic Battle of the Bands.” His website promotes any and all Irish and Celtic Heritage and other cultural organizations in the State. Many years ago Liam began wearing a leprechaun suit to pubs and Irish events around Michigan. One year the Kalamazoo Irish Fest asked him to act as the emcee to introduce an act. Since then Liam has been actively involved in more than a dozen other Irish Fests throughout the Midwest! Most recently he was named the Grand Marshal of Kalamazoo St. Patrick’s Day Parade for 2023. He has been a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Grand Rapids, and he is an active member of the West Michigan Gaelic League, Irish American Club. Liam is a very active supporter of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, with himself having been a Little Brother for 57 years. He has been married for 47 years to his wife Audie, and has two daughters, Megan Andres and Maureen Lynch.
— Religion: Paul A. Long —
For more than 35 years Paul Long has been a lay leader in the Catholic Church in Michigan. He has been President and CEO of the Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) since 2010, after starting his career there in 1988. MCC is the public policy voice of the Catholic Church and centrally administers benefit and administrative services for the Church throughout Michigan. Over the years, Paul has addressed such areas as social justice, homelessness, immigration, the criminal justice system, prison ministry, gun violence, poverty, human trafficking, promoting human dignity, and supporting Catholic education. Paul’s Irish ancestors immigrated to Canada from County Cork in the late 1840’s. Paul grew up in St. Clair Shores Michigan, attended Lakeview Schools, and graduated in 1988 from Michigan State University with his B.A. degree in Urban Planning. He married his wife Melissa in 1997, and they have three children, Patrick Dawson (22), Mary Elizabeth (20), and Catherine Virginia (16). Paul has visited sites in Ireland related to his family history, including Larne, Bangor, Belfast, Dublin, and Cork. The Longs are members of St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Lansing, and donate to Most Holy Trinity Parish in Corktown. Inspired by the late J.P. McCarthy’s constant promotion of what it means to be Irish, Paul has MCC sponsor the annual St. Patrick’s Day broadcast of Michigan’s Big Show starring Michael Patrick Shiels.
— Public Service: James R. Corgan —
James Corgan was an outstanding member of the Ontonagon, MI community in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He served as lighthouse keeper there for 36 years. In addition to keeping the light, he owned a fishing business and started a general store, James Corgan and Sons. He also built an opera house there in 1891, built a business block in 1893 and a post office in 1894. (While living as a young man in Copper Harbor, he served as Deputy Postmaster, Township Clerk, Commissioner of Highways and was Deputy US Marshal.) He helped organize the fire department in Ontonagon and served as its chief engineer. While serving as chairman of the school board, he organized the new township school district system (having been a teacher in L’anse) and helped students get free school books. He died in Ontonagon in 1923.
These new members for 2023 of the Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame were inducted at an induction ceremony at 11:30 AM at the Michigan Irish Music Festival in Muskegon, Michigan on Saturday, September 16, 2023. More information about the festival can be found at https://michiganirish.org/.
The Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame was founded in 2012 by the Muskegon Irish American Society. The Hall of Fame currently has 60 members, and is permanently displayed on the Hall of Fame website. A digital exhibit of the Hall of Fame is being planned to be available in locations across Michigan. To see the members of the Hall of Fame, please visit the Hall of Fame website at http://michiganirishamericanhalloffame.org/. Nomination forms for membership in the Hall of Fame are available on the website.