With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, the Irish American Heritage Society are taking every opportunity to delve into their annual celebrations – including dressing up downtown’s Patrick Walsh Statue.
Over a century old and just off of Telfair Street, the 9-foot Patrick Walsh Statue honors the former U.S. senator and Augusta Chronicle editor, and was decked out with an Irish American Heritage sash and traditional hat on Thursday, March 16, at 2 p.m.
“Senator Patrick Walsh was a great American, and a great Irishman,” said Senior U.S. District Court Judge Dudley Bowen Jr. “He is wearing a top hat which was typical to the period of his life, and we should also note that Senator Patrick Walsh was a man of humor; he would not have been offended by wearing that top hat.”
Remembered as one of the most influential Irish-descended leaders in Augusta, Irish American Heritage Society dignitaries, Mayor Garnett Johnson and Bowen worked together to coordinate decorating the statue.
“His life was all too short, but he was a well thought-out figure,” said Bowen. “He died in 1899, and 16 years later, through subscriptions, the people of Augusta had enough money to make that statue of him all the way in New York by one of the premium sculptors of the time. That’s how highly they thought of him.”
With the mayor’s help and the judge’s chipper cooperation, recent small celebrations involving Irish American officers have been held in celebration of this year’s upcoming St. Patrick’s Day.
In the future, the Irish American Heritage Society hopes to further work with both parties to have the statue in a more publicly accessible area. But, for now, the society is satisfied with being allowed to include the bronze statue in their festivities with the judge’s assistance.
“We have a very engaged and very important Augusta Irish American community,” said Mayor Johnson. “This community is such a thriving, loving and working community … they put a lot of work into displaying their heritage, and I am so honored as mayor to be a part of it.”
Irish American Heritage Society Vice President Walter Hutto said traditions, such as honoring prominent and historical Irish figures, are important to the mission of promoting Irish culture within the Augusta area.
“The goal of the society overall is to preserve the traditions that our ancestors brought with them from Ireland when they came to America, and to share and promote Irish culture in the CSRA,” he said. “ We take great pride in that. It’s just about never forgetting where we came from.”
On St. Patrick’s Day, he hopes the public will partake in tomorrow’s celebrations by attending the parade and enjoying some family-friendly fun.
“Enjoy downtown, go to the Commons, have fun and support local businesses,” he said. “Just have a great St. Patrick’s Day.”
The statue is located in the fenced area of downtown’s Federal Justice Center, facing Telfair Street.
Thanks to all involved.
Yes! Thanks to all who made this possible. I love our Mayor! God bless him daily with wisdom and strength.
AT THE EVENT YESTERDAY I ASKED OLD TIME AUGUSTAN JUDGE BOWEN if he was in attendance at the 1889 Walsh funeral. (oh yes did I get a funny look from him.) ha ha
Everyone is smiling and happy .
What a great St. Patrick’s Day !
I was honored to be invited to this event. There were representatives there from the Irish-American Heritage Society, The Ancient Order of Hibernians, The Lady Ancient Order of Hibernians and The Patrick Walsh Council of the Knights of Columbus #677. I am a proud member of 3 of 4 of those fine organizations. I hope to see this event grow every year to recognize and honor the contributions of this great man and Son of Ireland.