THERE aren’t too many people who can claim that they have had a day officially named after them.
But Clonakilty native Brian O’Donovan, who one friend has described as ‘The Philip King (Other Voices) of Boston’ is an exception to that after he was honoured for his enormous contribution to the cultural landscape of Boston.
Brian is a host and producer of the popular ‘A Celtic Sojourn’ programme, which has been broadcasting on WGBH 89.7 every Saturday afternoon for 30 years.
So he was more than surprised at a recent event to hear that the Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, declared December 14th 2017 ‘Brian O’Donovan Day’ in the city of Boston.
The announcement was made on the opening night of ‘A Christmas Celtic Sojourn’ concert in the Cutler Majestic Theatre on December 14th and it came as a complete shock to Brian when David Leonard, president of the Boston Public Library read the Proclamation declaring it ‘Brian O’Donovan Day.’
Mr Leonard said that Brian has made significant contributions to immigrant communities in Greater Boston through his support of the Irish International Immigrant Centre and other organisations.
‘Mr O’Donovan serves as one of Boston’s foremost standard-bearers for Irish culture, past, present and future,’ said Mr Leonard.
Colleagues of Brian at WGBH 89.7, who knew it was happening that night, also congratulated him on ‘this momentous honour’ bestowed upon him by the Mayor and the City of Boston.
Speaking to The Southern Star, Brian, who moved to Boston in 1980, said it was a complete surprise to him.
‘For this to happen right before the opening of the show took me aback but I must admit being chuffed and took it more as the recognition of my arts advocacy and activism, rather than of me personally,’ said Brian.
While music production and public broadcasting is his first love, Brian has also had a successful career in professional sports as he was the former vice-president of operations at New England Patriots and the former general manager of football team New England Revolution.
Brian grew up in Ashe Street in Clonakilty, where his late father Jim ran a butcher shop.