Maggie Cloonan Named Grand Marshal
of the 2018 Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day Parade
Pittsburgh, PA, February 5, 2018 – The Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee announced that the Irish Society for Education & Charity, Inc., has named Margaret “Maggie” Cloonan its 2018 Parade Grand Marshal. The Irish Society oversees the parade which will take place in Downtown Pittsburgh on Saturday, March 17, 2018 starting at 10 a.m., rain, snow or shine.
Born in Listowel, Co. Kerry, Maggie Cloonan has a long history of involvement in the Pittsburgh Irish community and beyond.
She was an original fundraising chair for the Irish Society for Education and Charity when it assumed responsibility for the Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day Parade in the early 1990s. She and her husband Tom Cloonan were original members of the Irish Centre of Pittsburgh. She is a member of the All Ireland Athletic Club and a supporter of the Pittsburgh Celtics Football Club.
Maggie has been a member of the Miss Smiling Irish Eyes Committee, a member of the Irish National Caucus, and a supporter of the Holy Cross School in Belfast, Ireland.
She was an organizer of many Wolfe Tones concerts that benefited Pittsburgh Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians (LAOH) Division #11, where she served as President.
She was Chair of the Maiden of the Mournes Committee, which annually sends a young woman to Warrenpoint, Co. Down to represent Pittsburgh in the Maiden of the Mournes Festival.
In the 1990s, Maggie conceptualized the Saint Brigid's Court Foundation, where the Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day Parade honors a woman who has suffered extreme illness or hardship and exemplifies courage in the face of adversity. She volunteers, helping sight-impaired individuals with organized exercise walks at Ross Park Mall. In addition, she cooks dinner and collects donations for homeless women at Miryam's House.
She was awarded Life Membership in the LAOH in 2016, and was presented with the Anna C. Malia Ruddy Award at the 2017 LAOH State Convention, the highest award given to a state member.
She is the daughter of Denis and Hannah O'Donoghue. She followed in the path of her older siblings, emigrating to the United States and settling in Pittsburgh. In 1968, she married Thomas Cloonan of County Galway.