March 2007

Irish Roots - Celebrating St. Patrick's Day on Hilton Head Island

Author: Melinda Copp

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the most popular annual events on the island. And although the evidence isn’t apparent, Hilton Head has a few historical ties to the Emerald Isle.

In 1698, Landgrave John Bayley of Ballingclough, County Tipperary, Ireland, was granted Bayley’s Barony, a plot of land that included most of Hilton Head Island. His son, John Bayley, appointed Alexander Trench of Dublin as his agent for selling several pieces of the property. But a large part of the land remained in the Bayley family until after the Revolutionary War.

While finding Bayley descendants on the island today is unlikely, many sons and daughters of Eire have made Hilton Head home. And in 1983, a group of them founded the island’s first St. Patty’s Day Parade. The event was organized by Reilley’s restaurant owner, Tom Reilley. It started at Kasey’s Krustaceans restaurant—which was located on the corner of Arrow Road and U.S. Highway 278 and has since been torn down—and marched down 278 towards the original Reilley’s location in the Gallery of Shops.

This year, the tradition continues on Sunday, March 11, at 2 p.m. The 24th Annual Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade will commence at the municipal parking lot off Pope Avenue near The Smokehouse restaurant, travel towards the Sea Pines Circle, turn off at Office Park Road, and end at Park Plaza. Office Park Road has been under construction, but the crew has promised parade organizers that the road will be cleaned up and ready for the event.

“Parking is always an issue, so park as far away as you can and walk to the parade, said Publicity Director, Betty Dirosse.

Come rain or shine. And don’t forget to wear your green.

For more information, call (843) 384-4035.

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