Beaver Island Irish American Hall of Fame

Nominations for 2023 inductees into the Beaver Island Irish American Hall of Fame are now OPEN.

Criteria for Nomination:

1. Nominations will be accepted for individuals of Irish American Descent, living or deceased, with substantial ties to Beaver Island who have made contributions in areas such as Public Service, Cultural Heritage, Philanthropy, Business and Industry, Arts and Entertainment, Religion, Education, and Sports.

2. Nominees must have a meaningful connection to Beaver Island, be of verifiable Irish ancestry, and have made a notable contribution in one of the aforementioned areas.

3. Nomination forms are available through the Emerald Isle Irish Féile Steering Committee. Nominations must include the name of nominee, category, and brief description of reason for nomination/candidate worthiness.

4. A committee appointed by the Board of Directors of the Emerald Isle Irish Féile Steering Committee will screen nominations and recommend selections to the Committee for final approval.

Deadline for Nominations: The completed nomination form and any supporting materials must be emailed or posted on or before May 1, 2023. Nominations received after this date may be considered for the following year.

Notifications:  Selections will be made by June 1, 2023.  Results will be announced and posted to the Emerald Isle Irish Féile website.  The induction ceremony will be held annually in September at the Emerald Isle Irish Féile on Beaver Island, Lake Michigan.

Contact:  Questions on the nomination process should be directed to Kathleen McNamara, Co-Chair Emerald Isle Irish Féile Steering Committee: Nomination forms can be completed below.

2023 Beaver Island Irish American Hall of Fame Online Nomination Form

Kay McDonough Masini

Kay was an artist, poet, and writer. She was the daughter of Sarah
(Sadie) Gallagher
and Bruce McDonough, losing her father in the ‘Marold II’ fuel-salvage disaster of 1937. Her grandparents
were Willy John Gallagher and Mary Duffy - who was Beaver Island’s last Gaelic-speaking immigrant born
on Arranmore Island. Kay painted over 200 art scenes including lighthouses, Donegal Bay, and Holy
Cross Church, which displayed her enduring love for the island she grew up on. She designed a special
ornament for the 150th anniversary of Holy Cross Church, which won a national design award. She
created multiple paintings and sketches of early fisherman and their nets, which were exhibited in the
Marine Museum; and played a vital role in the restoration of the Marine Museum’s iconic Zoltan Zepeshy
mural of early fisherman. She participated in annual local art shows, and donated many wonderful art
works to PABI auctions. Her poetry, writing, and art are valuable contributions to Beaver Island and it’s
Irish history.

Mary Beth Greene Nelson

A true island historian, Mary Beth has spent much of her life listening to
island elders, collecting their stories, and recording information about many aspects of Beaver Island’s
Irish genealogy and history. She devoted a truly remarkable amount of time and effort into the creation of
a gravesite directory and map of Holy Cross Cemetery, offering an invaluable asset not only to the island
community but for anyone searching for information on past islanders. Mary Beth’s priceless contributions
have been enormously helpful in the preservation of our cultural heritage, in ways that will outlast us all.

Danny Gillespie

Danny was born on Beaver Island in 1953 to Jewell and Rita O’Donnell Gillespie.
His parents
were island musicians whose music and singing deeply influenced Danny’s musical education, along with
that of other islanders like legendary fiddler Pat Bonner and the beloved Edward Palmer. His musical
career has seen him become a staple of entertainment for generations of islanders through his
performances at house parties, pubs, homes, and events. His talent for making the music of the past
relevant today shows his dedication to carrying the torch of traditional Irish and Beaver Island music
passed on to him by his elders, making him a worthy honoree by the Beaver Island Irish-American Hall of

Sister Mary Clare Malloy Was born on Beaver Island in September of 1891, the eighth of twelve
children born to John Patrick ‘Buffalo’ Malloy and Bridget Theresa Boyle. She is remembered for her
thoughtfulness and the ways in which she touched many lives on the island; becoming a bridge for the
many distant cousins and relatives whose lives took them far from their island homes. Sister Claire served
in the WWI Cadet Nursing Corps, was later a nurse, and then a Hospital Administrator. Her induction into
the Beaver Island Irish-American Hall of Fame represents the many Islanders of that generation who left
the island and joined the religious life to make a difference for others.

Father Patrick Cawley

Father Pat served Holy Cross Church and the Beaver Island community
with amazing compassion and “the heart of an angel” for many years. One of his most important contributions to the
island’s Irish-American community was his staunch support for their traditions. He relished the sincere
and time-honored death and burial traditions of the island’s Irish-American families, encouraging them to
never let go of individually unique wakes, funeral processions to the Point, and visits to Holy Cross
Cemetery, or whatever special honor the family felt the deceased would appreciate.

Helen Collar Beginning in 1915, Helen spent over fifty years listening to and recording the stories of

Irish-American island elders. Her tirelessly dedicated oral history work, accompanied by her exhaustive
archival research locally and beyond, amassed a treasure trove of island genealogy and lore which
continues to guide and illuminate countless island descendants, researchers, and writers today.
Artistically, her flawless and evocative sketches of the first generation of Beaver Island’s Irish settlers,
inspired by vintage photos and the oral recollections of their grandchildren, gives us a vivid glimpse of the
visages and character of those early immigrants. In the words of one Irish-American islander, “She gave
us our history”.

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