Mayo County Council was delighted to present the Grand Marshal of the New York City St Patrick’s Day parade, Brian O’Dwyer, with an iconic Foxford Woollen Mills Michael Collins Rug at a function in New York on Friday March 15th.

Brian O’Dwyer became the third member of his family to lead the St Patrick’s Day parade in New York, following in the footsteps of his father, City Council President Paul O’Dwyer, who led the parade in 1974, and his uncle William O’Dwyer, the 100th Mayor of New York City, who was Grand Marshal in 1938.

Mr O’Dwyer’s father and uncle were natives of Bohola, Co. Mayo and the Attorney & Immigration Activist has retained his strong Mayo ties over the years.

In early 1922, Foxford Woollen Mills presented a specially commissioned Travel Blanket to General Michael Collins to mark his appointment to Commander-in-Chief of the newly established Irish Army. The rug was in his armoured car at the ambush at Béal Na Bláth in August 1922 and was used to wrap the body for transportation to Cork. It was recovered at Shanakiel Hospital by Nurse Nora O'Donaghue and later donated to the National Museum.

Foxford Woollen Mills have reproduced the blanket in conjunction with the Michael Collins House, Clonakilty, Co. Cork, and to mark the occasion of leading the New York parade, Mayo County Council presented Brian O’Dwyer with the commemorative rug.

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