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By Katie Iannitelli
 
McNulty School of Irish Dance owner Barbara McNulty is in the opposite position from most Irish businesses at the moment.  
 
“We feel really bad because we had our fundraiser in February.  A lot of the restaurants and hotels donated to it.  Our performing for them is our payback for supporting our fundraiser.  We weren’t able to honor a lot of the performances we were supposed to do.”
 
She is hopeful that when the venues open again, the dance company will be able to perform for postponed St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
 
In the meantime, McNulty dancers are giving back to the community, she says.
 
“I have a school in Dubuque, Iowa, and one dancer’s mom is in rehab,” she says.  “On St. Patrick’s Day, a few of the kids went to the facility, stayed a good distance away from each other, and danced outside.  The seniors came to the window to watch them dance.”
 
The Shannon Rovers also found themselves in their respective homes, alone, on St. Patrick’s Day, lamenting that the band’s once-in-a-lifetime trip to play in Dublin’s parade had been cancelled.  
 
Many, though, are still doing what they can to deliver good tidings.
 
On St. Patrick’s Day, bagpiper Brian Costello marched the Illinois Prairie Path, bringing cheer and boosting morale to dozens of homes and neighbors along the route.
 
“I played on St. Patrick’s Day because I was sad I wasn’t marching down O’Connell Street in front of the post office with my boys by my side in Dublin.”
 
When his parade-of-one concluded, Katy, his “better half,” recommended he play every night at sunset to raise people’s spirits.  With that, a new tradition was born in his Elmhurst community.
 
Bagpiper Conor Kelly, “in the hopes of trying to spread good spirits and lighten the mood on a fun day like St. Patrick’s Day,” played tunes for family members, by FaceTime, each performance delivered with a special message about staying safe and healthy.
 
And bagpiper Patrick Magner played at noon from his third-floor balcony in the Ukranian Village neighborhood in Chicago.
 
"The Shannon Rovers have been bringing the joy of St. Patrick's Day to people for years. I figured I could still do that in my own little way, even from a safe social distance."
 
After the performance, Patrick’s wife, Bridget, posted a video on Facebook, and in less than 24 hours it had been viewed over 1,600 times, she says, and had received comments like “I needed that tune!” and “This just made my St. Patrick’s Day!”

Way to keep spirits up, everyone!