Author and Filmmaker, Mary Pat Kelly, Named Ambassador Award Recipient

The St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke has announced that the 27th recipient of the Ambassador’s Award is Mary Pat Kelly, a best-selling author and filmmaker. The Ambassador Award is presented to a person or organization that has worked to promote the relationship between the people of the Republic of Ireland and the people of the United States. The Committee made today’s announcement with Fionnuala Quinlan, the Irish Consul General, at her office in Boston.

As an author and filmmaker, Mary Pat Kelly has told various stories connected to Ireland. Her best-selling novel Galway Bay (2009), called “pure magic” by Frank McCourt, is based on the history of her Irish-American family and with Of Irish Blood (2015), which continues the saga, is currently in development as a TV series at MGM with producer Roma Downey. She has worked as a screenwriter for Paramount and Columbia Pictures, and as an associate producer with Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live. She also wrote and directed the dramatic feature film Proud (2004), starring Ossie Davis and Stephen Rea, and three award-winning PBS documentaries: To Live for Ireland (1986), Home Away from Home: The Yanks in Ireland (1992), and Proudly We Served: The Men of the USS Mason (1995). Kelly’s other books include two about the film director Martin Scorsese and Good to Go: The Rescue of Scott O’Grady from Bosnia (1996). She is also a frequent contributor to Irish America Magazine and has twice been named one of the Top 100 Irish Americans and one of the Top 100 Global Irish.

A graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College she attended NYU Film School, received her PhD from the City University of New York Graduate Center and has taught at City College and LaGuardia Community College. Born and raised in Chicago, Mary Pat currently resides in Manhattan’s Upper West Side with her husband, Web Developer Martin Sheerin from County Tyrone.

“I am so honored to be selected for the Ambassador’s award” said Mary Pat Kelly. “In my work, I’ve tried to connect the Irish and Irish Americans through telling stories. I’m so grateful to have the importance of this effort recognized.”

“I would like to congratulate Mary Pat Kelly on receiving this prestigious award and thank her for all she has done to promote Irish heritage and culture in the United States” said Fionnuala Quinlan, the Irish Consul General. “I was delighted to host the announcement of the Ambassador’s Award at the Consulate today and we are very much looking forward to another wonderful St Patrick’s Day celebration and parade in Holyoke. To all those who organize and participate in the events around St Patrick’s Day in Holyoke, which are among the best-attended in the entire United States, a sincere thank you for keeping the flame of Irish culture burning bright.”

Kateri Walsh, Chair of the Ambassador’s Award Selection Committee said, “Mary Pat Kelly’s best-selling book Galway Bay, that traces the journey of her Irish ancestors uniquely qualifies her to be the recipient of the 2018 Ambassador Award. Her body of work reminds all of us of the hardships our ancestors endured to come to America for a better life for their children. A dream that lives today.”

“Mary Pat Kelly has lived an extraordinary life as an author and filmmaker. We are honored to have her as our 2018 Ambassador Award recipient and look forward to marching with her in the 67th Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade” said Timothy O’Grady, 2018 Parade President.

Mary Pat Kelly will be honored at the Ambassador’s Breakfast by a Representative of the Republic of Ireland the morning of the Parade on Sunday, March 18th. To purchase tickets, please contact Brynn Gillis at

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