Lake Norman & Mooresville

Mooresville’s St. Patrick’s parade a labor of love for Irish-born organizer

Esther Murphy, center, with former grand marshal Robert Carney and his wife, Erika Carney, at a previous parade, is the driving force behind the Mooresville St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Esther Murphy, center, with former grand marshal Robert Carney and his wife, Erika Carney, at a previous parade, is the driving force behind the Mooresville St. Patrick’s Day parade. BEN MURPHY

’Tis a credit to Mooresville resident Esther Murphy that the city has a St. Paddy’s Day parade. Murphy, born in County Cork, Ireland, lends an authenticity to the parade, not just because of her Irish brogue, but also her years of volunteering and participating in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

She came to the United States in November 1964 because, “I always wanted to come.” After a career in the New York area with the FBI, Murphy retired in 2005 and came to live in Mooresville. She now lives in the Muirfield neighborhood.

Asked her age, Murphy quipped, “You can put me down as a senior citizen, over 60 and under 80.”

As past president of the County Cork Association, Murphy received invaluable support form Margaret Shannon, of the Irish Society of Charlotte, in helping Murphy’s dream of a parade in Mooresville.

Mooresville’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade grew from a small one Murphy pulled together about six or seven years ago in a Mooresville subdivision where she lived: “I cooked all the corned beef and cabbage.” It moved downtown four years ago and will be held March 7 this year.

N.C. Rep. John A. Fraley will be the grand marshal. Irish wolfhounds will be at the head of the parade because of Murphy’s research learning the dogs protect those following. Mooresville Chief of Police Carl Robbins will then lead other police officers, the color guard and Mooresville ROTC.

The Mooresville Fire Department will debut its pipe band this year. Marching in the parade will be the Irish dancers Rince ‘Na h’Eireann, and Murphy’s favorite, the pipe band – Ceol na Gael, an award-winning 501(c)(3) educational program, based in Charlotte.

Jim Kiger, grand knight of Knights of Columbus Council 7406, who also participate and march in the parade, said, “It’s a lot of fun, the parade – a good time to celebrate. ”

Murphy is the real deal as coordinator of a parade that keeps growing. There is no cost to be in the parade. Murphy hopes the high school bands of Lake Norman and Mooresville will participate, and she encourages any local Scout troops to consider becoming a part of the parade.

Suzanne Ruff is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Suzanne? Email her at ruffsuzanne@gmail.com.

Want to go?

The Mooresville Downtown Commission will sponsor the fourth annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade at 3 p.m. March 7 in downtown. The parade begins on Main Street at Iredell Avenue and runs south on Main Street, ending at Center Avenue. Groups and individuals who would like to participate in the parade should email info@downtownmooresville.com.

For information about participating, email Kim Atkins, executive director of Downtown Mooresville Commission, at info@downtownmooresville.com or via www.downtownmooresville.com.

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