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Ireland's Own Celebrates 25 Years

Reminiscing midst living history.

Twenty five years ago Old Town Alexandria was a far different place. Garage parking in the core area cost $2 per day. The Small Mall was an eclectic shopping haven. The courtyard of the Holiday Inn had live entertainment on summer nights. And Pat Troy opened "Ireland's Own."

This past Saturday night he, his family and staff celebrated that event with an anniversary party that drew an estimated 500 people to the third incarnation of his Irish Pub and Restaurant at 111 N. Pitt St.

From new City Manager James Hartman, getting his first real exposure to Alexandria's Irish side, to now Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, who played in the band, Shannon Tide, that performed at the original Pat Troy's Restaurant and Pub ... it was a living history montage of personalities.

Included in that gathering were Michael Connor, Alexandria Chief Fire Marshal; City Councilmen Paul Smedberg and Rob Krupicka; outgoing U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson; City historian Mike Miller; former Redskins vice president and general manager Charlie Casserely; Mike Dobbs, president, Old Town Civic Association; and the long-standing chairman, New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade, John Dunleavy.

Troy paid special tribute to what he said was "the one customer over the 25 years that stands out, Chip Kennedy. He comes here probably five nights a week to have dinner." Troy also noted that the owners of three other Irish pubs in the area attended the party. "That's a real tribute," he said.

"There were people here from all parts of the country. Over the past 25 years I've had great customers and this party was a tribute to all the good times we've had. But, my greatest memory is when President Reagan came in and I had the opportunity to serve and entertain him," Troy said. The table where he sat is a daily tribute to the former president.

ENTERTAINMENT for the Silver Anniversary bash was provided by the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums, The Celtic Folk, Shannon Tide, Seamus Kennedy, Brendan's Voyage, and others. It was also a reunion for an array of former Ireland's Own employees. "There were 35 former staff here," he said.

Among the myriad accolades was a poem, written by Ann and Andrea McHugh:

"25 years

Of laughter and tears,

Cocktails and beers,

And unicorn jeers.

Of uniformed men,

And boys in blue,

Of couples wed,

And Irish tunes.

Of Guiness and Harp

Jamison's and Bailey's.

Of leprechauns lost,

And Old mens sheleiges.

Of St. Paddy's Day Parades,

And marching down King.

Of a packed house,

Watching Andy Cooney sing.

Of friends we have loved

And friends we have lost

But as good memories go

Forever in our hearts.

So 25 years ...

We've shared them with you

Won't you please,

Share them too.

Did you have a good time?

Did you meet your bride?

Did you see Ronnie Reagan?

Did you stumble outside?

Flip over this card.

Tell your tales unknown.

Because you, my friends

Are Ireland's Own!"