Thursday, September 26th, 2019 9th Annual Anam Cara Awards (immediately following the Acre Forum) Long Meadow Golf Club
We proudly recognize our loyal soul friends who have made significant contributions within the Greater Lowell Community to the preservation of Irish Culture and Heritage.
The Anam C’ara Award “Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.” “Under the shelter of each other, people survive.”
The Gaelic term Anam C’ara is translated as Soul Friend. It represents one who has bound themselves to another through an act of friendship and belonging. We recognize the contributions of those who have shared their time, treasures, and talents in giving back to the Community by preserving and promoting Lowell’s Irish Culture, and the teachings of the Acre neighborhood.
The following are the 2019 recipients of St. Patrick Parish Anam C’ara Award:
Dr. Joseph Downes, D.C. Dr. Downes earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic as well as a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology from the New York Institute of Technology. He has served as a Past Chairman of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration of Chiropractors, was a Past President of the Merrimack Valley Chiropractic Society and is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Management. Dr. Downes also remains active in numerous community organizations and currently serves as the President of the Friends of the Lowell Council on Aging and is the Chief Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Athletic Commission, Boxing Division.
Dr. Downes has served as the Ancient Order of Hibernians Historian for about 20 years now. He has also served on the State Board as the State Historian for 10 years. While serving in the role of Division President Dr. Downes really went out of his way to make new members feel welcome. He loves spending time speaking with anyone who is willing to listen about the history of Division 19 and the Hibernians history in America. Dr. Downes is always there to help out when there is a need.
There is a saying that “We stand here and now on the shoulders of giants”. Dr. Downes exemplifies the giants we are blessed to know and lucky to call our friend.
Thomas F. Malone, M. Ed., CAGS: Tom Malone’s career as an educator is well-known and recognized. Mr. Malone, as he was known to his students, was an educator in Lowell with 34 years of experience, first as a teacher and then as a principal at the McDonough City Magnet School. Retirement hasn’t slowed him down as he presently is one of the founders of the multi-award winning Micro Society Academy Charter School in Nashua. Besides education, Tom’s other source of pride is his Irish heritage. Tom is proud of his family’s roots in County Mayo. He has made multiple trips back to Ireland to visit family members, some of whom he has met through his study of genealogy. Tom has been a member of the Irish Cultural Committee and has helped organize our annual parade to City Hall. For a number of years, Tom has been the Irish flag bearer at the Lowell Folk Festival street parade. Readers of our Lowell Irish Facebook page might note Tom’s numerous entries updating us on Irish history and culture. We are grateful for his ongoing contributions and being a “soul friend.”
Finbarr Sheehan & Gerry Murphy
The Old Court is an authentic Irish pub and restaurant located in historic downtown Lowell, located at 29-31 Central Street. Co-owners Gerry Murphy and Finbarr Sheehan opened the pub on February 6, 2001, and have provided guests a wonderful place for people to connect, engage in conversation and enjoy true Irish Spirit for more than 18 years. The pub is filled with personal effects from the Murphy and Sheehan families’ villages. They serve traditional Irish classic dishes, as well as contemporary American fare. The Old Court hosts a traditional Irish music seisun every month. They invite Irish musicians and bands to perform at the pub throughout the year, with some fantastic talent around St. Patrick’s Day and the Lowell Folk Festival. If you are lucky, you can also catch some Irish dancing to the wonderful tunes played at the pub!
Gerry was born in New York, the son of a fine lady from County Clare and a gentleman from County Kerry. Gerry’s parents both immigrated to New York where they met, married and had 3 children. When Gerry was 7, his parents decided to return home with their children to Ireland to take over the family’s pub, Murphy’s Bar, in Bradon, County Kerry. Gerry returned to the U.S. once again, and found work at several Boston Irish bars, including Dooleys and the Grand Canal, where he met Finbarr Sheehan, a charismatic young man from County Cork.Finbarr had family in the Greater Lowell area, including 2017 Anam Cara Honoree Noreen Conlon, the first president of our chapter of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, who worked to establish the AOH and LAOH scholarships.
Finbarr thoroughly enjoyed the Greater Lowell area, and wanted to open an Irish Pub in downtown Lowell. He convinced his new friend Gerry to join him in the endeavor, and the idea for the Old Court was born. The Old Court supports several charities and hosts a charity golf tournament each year. Initially, the tournament was held to raise funds for the daughter of a young friend who died unexpectedly. Thereafter, Gerry and Finbarr continued their efforts to donate the tournament’s proceeds to Lucy’s Love Bus, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with cancer and life-threatening illness, and to support their families.
Gerry and Finbarr have created a space in downtown Lowell where Irish culture and traditions are preserved and celebrated. Their dedication to maintaining the pub with the traditional spirit of Ireland provides Lowellians a place to celebrate Irish Heritage throughout the year.