THE Mayo Society in New York honoured Deirdre Feerick and Michael McMahon at their 138th annual St Patrick’s Ball last Saturday night. The celebrations were held at Antun’s, 96-43 Springfield Blvd, Queens Village, and were presided over by James Prendergast, President of the Mayo Society, whose father hailed from Garrymore.
Michael McMahon, who was presented with the Mayo Man of the Year award, was born in Meath to Paddy Joe McMahon (RIP) of Kilvine, Irishtown, and Nora McMahon (nee McGuinness) of Brickens, Claremorris.
Michael, the eldest of eight learnt the value of hard work by growing up on a dairy farm. At the age of twelve, he got a part time job in ‘The Roost’ pub, Maynooth. He left school at 16 to begin working as a printing apprentice and in construction.
At the age of 20, Michael had his own printing business and was in the process of building his first of many houses when he decided to go to America in 1985.
On arrival in New York, he worked in the Ashford Arms pub on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn before he joined Philips Construction. After seven years of working for Philips Construction, Michael, along with his partner Kevin McCann, took over the company. They expanded it to real estate and development and renamed it ‘Kilvine Construction’ after his father’s birthplace in Mayo.
Michael married his wife Karen, a first-generation Irish American in Lahardane, in 1997 and have three children; twin boys Ryan and Kevin and Kayleigh. They raised the family in Marine Park, Brooklyn, before moving to Belle Harbor, Rockaway in 2010.
In 2005, they opened his first pub, McMahon’s Irish Pub, soon to be followed by their second ‘Kevin Ryan’s’. These paved the way for McMahon’s Public House in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and Roger’s in Rockaway Park, New York.
Deirdre Feerick, who received the Mayo Woman of the Year award, is the granddaughter of Agnes Hughes Feerick from Cong. Agnes emigrated to America in 1920 where she met John Feerick from Ballinrobe at a dance in New York City. After they married, they settled in Sunnyside, Queens where Deirdre was raised.
Deirdre graduated from Saint Raphael’s Grammar school, Dominican Academy, State University of New York at Albany and Brooklyn Law School. Deirdre’s professional career in government began in the Oversight and Investigations Unit at The New York City Council in 1989. Today, she is the senior Director of the Legal Department at the Transport Workers Union of America Local 100.
Music for the celebrations was provided by the Tommy Flynn Band. Tommy, from Co Clare, was the former lead singer with The Conquerors.