Over the weekend, Dundalk residents braved cold, blustery weather to see the return of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Local leaders, organizations and businesses participated in this year’s parade to kick off the shamrock holiday’s festivities after a three-year hiatus. Police sectioned off streets from Liberty to Dunmanway to Trading Place, as attendees saw a myriad of attractions.
The Greater Dundalk Chamber of Commerce usually organizes an annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in March leading up to the holiday itself, however, the parade had to be canceled for the last three years due to the pandemic and uncooperative weather.
But the luck of the Irish was on their side this year, as more than 35 floats marched through the streets of Dundalk to community members’ delight.
“It felt good to get out and interact with our community and businesses this year,” said Chamber of Commerce president Dawn Frazier. “We were very sad to have canceled due to the rain the last couple years.”
Attendee Richard Paugh came to watch the parade this year with his wife, where they both have lived in Dundalk for 45 years. Paugh and his wife view the annual parade as a time they can pridefully celebrate their Irish heritage and hopefully look to keep on attending in the years to come.
“It’s been like four years so this can jog everyone’s memories and everybody can start coming back,” said Paugh.
The local St. Patrick’s Day Parade began as an idea from Lil Tirschman and Bill Thorpe in an effort to highlight Dundalk’s history and connection to Ireland.
“I started that parade by myself and I knew nothing — nothing — about putting on a parade,” Tirschman said. “I got a lot of help from a lot of different people and it kept on growing.”
Dundalk is a community that has its roots tied to Ireland as it shares the same moniker of a town in the Emerald Isle.
The community’s name came about when Henry McShane moved to the area in 1895, where the Irish immigrant founded the McShane Bell Foundry. The foundry built iron pipes and furnace fittings on the far southeastern outskirts in Baltimore. When Baltimore and Sparrows Point railroad companies asked for the name of McShane’s foundry depot, he landed on Dundalk — after the town of his birthplace in Ireland.
To this day, the McShane Bell Foundry has a float in the community’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade every year. The foundry, which now operates in Glen Burnie, presents two gargantuan bells, 3,000 pounds each pulled by pickup as the McShane family walk alongside to rally up the crowd.
“I think the McShane bells got to win it,” said attendee Joan Murphy. “It’s just great to be out and about again.”
But the parade never stops there, as multiple pipers and bands march down Trading Place donning traditional kilts and high knee socks. Pipe Major Megan Amoss lead the Baltimore City Pipe Band first through Dundalk’s streets, with separate pipers Dan Lyden. Duncan Moore, Geoff Douglass and Andy Mcintyre mixed into different parade brigades.
Couple the sounds of Irish drinking songs with echoes of McShane’s bells, it seemed as if Dundalk, Maryland had merged with its Irish counterpart across the Atlantic Ocean.
This year, Dennis McCartney closed out the parade dressed as Notre Dame’s famous Leprechaun mascot strutting the last stretch of the route.
“I’m a hometown boy,” McCartney said. “A lot of my classmates support the parade and the fundraiser and it means a lot to them.”
The 2023 St. Patrick’s Day parade was made possible thanks to the following sponsors and donors:
Fast Signs sponsor of the parade
The Precinct-12 Community Police Alliance assembled for its monthly meeting on Monday to go over crime statistics with the precinct police captain.
The P-12 Community Police Alliance serves as a chance for community groups and individuals to connect with Police Captain Glenn Wiedeck and community outreach officers about crime happening in residents’ perspective neighborhoods, as well as how community members can take preventative measures.
Capt. Wiedeck began Monday’s by announcing that the suspect in the stabbing of a Dundalk High School student was arrested on March 8. Earlier this year, the 15-year-old student was stabbed multiple times on his way to school on Friday, Jan. 27 around 8:30 a.m. on the railroad tracks across Yorkway.
“We ended up catching that suspect last week,” Wiedeck said on Monday. “The [officers] did a great job because we had nothing to go on.”
At last month’s meeting, the precinct captain described the incident as “very close to being a homicide” as the suspect’s blade had “got broke off in [the victim’s] neck.”
Since the arrested suspect is a juvenile, Wiedeck and other officers could not dispense any additional details regarding the arrest and the alleged stabber.
“We can’t give a lot of information, but hopefully that kept someone else from being a victim,” Weideck said.
The precinct police captain also reassured attendees that the victim is in good spirits and “will survive” January’s incident.
As the meeting progressed, Wiedeck went on to talk about crime statistics so far this year, however, he made note that certain numbers and data can vary change depending on the outcome of his officers’ investigations.
According to Baltimore County’s crime data, Dundalk has over 100 assault cases in January alone, almost 60 vandalism cases and exactly 72 larceny theft cases, as well. Kicking off the year, Dundalk accounts for over 10 percent of the county’s crime cases where it is confirm the entire community has had approximately 336 criminal cases so far.
Community members who attended Mondays voiced their concerns on various crime trends such as stealing from other people’s cars, like P-12 Community Police Alliance director Lee McBride mentioned.
“Thefts from cars — we’ve been noticing a lot in Boston Courts,” said McBride. “We’ve reported some of them but it seems like they’re coming around midnight to 4 a.m.”
Precinct 12 officers look for preventative measures to remedy people stealing from cars, since Dundalk has had over 14 motor theft cases.
In response, Wiedeck stressed the need for community residents to lock their car doors throughout the day, especially at night. The number of cases where thieves had actually broken a window to get in remains small, Wiedeck said, rather they are looking for easy targets such as unlocked cars.
“They’re looking for the easy target,” Wiedeck said. “They’re not going to bust your car to go through it when they can get hit five other cars on that street that are left unlocked.”
It was also announced at Monday’s meeting that Precinct 12 is down 28 officers, per Capt. Wiedeck. The amount of officers has improved, however, over the course of one month, as in February’s meeting the police captain had said his precinct was 37 officers short from their target staffing quantity of 162 officers.
Before adjourning, it was discussed how several community groups within Dundalk met with officials from both Baltimore County and city to address longstanding issues that exist along the Dundalk Avenue and Holabird Avenue area.
“This is the first time in the last few years that the captain has had open communication with the Baltimore City precinct, so they are working together,” said director Nick Staigerwald.