Fr. Abram J. Ryan Division 1

Hibernians Honor Vincent O’Neill as Irish Person of the Year

With great pride, Louisville’s Fr. Abram J. Ryan Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians announces the recipient of their highest honor, the 2013 Irish Person of the Year and St. Patrick’s Parade Grand Marshal: Mr. Vincent J. O’Neill.]

In a break with recent tradition, the Hibernians have recognized one of their own for this honor, which goes to those who advance humanity through their day to day service.

Vince has been an active member of the AJ Ryan Division since its inception in 1966, serving on the first St. Patrick’s Parade Committee in 1973 and serving as Division President in 1975.  He has always been a dedicated volunteer.  According to one AOH past president, “Vince has 47 years’ experience manning Hibernian information booths, selling Irish food, winning softball games against the German-American Club, spinning cake wheels, spreading Blarney, and organizing picnics.” Perfected as an insurance executive, Vince’s prudence and attention to detail have been invaluable to the Division over its 47 years.

Vince O’Neill is a native of Iowa and was born on St. Patrick’s Day to an Irish-American mother and father from County Kilkenny, Ireland.  He’s a graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport.  In addition to his work with the Hibernians, Vince has served as the president of the Louisville Board of Insurance Agents, Kentucky Lloyd’s of London Insurance Agents, Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners, and the American Business Club.  Vince is an avid tennis player and horse racing fan, and is a member of the Bonnycastle Club.  Mr. O’Neill is a Certified Insurance Counselor and Senior Account Executive for Neace Lukens insurance agency.  Vince and his wife, Jane, raised three daughters and have six grandchildren.  The O’Neills live in St. Matthews and are members of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

Vince, from a family of nine, boasts of two brothers who were Irishmen of the Year and Parade Grand Marshals back in Iowa.  His grandfather was also a Hibernian.  As an O’Neill, Vince is a member of the Uí Néill Clan which dominated the North and West of Ireland from the 6th to the 10th centuries.  Vince is also most certainly* a descendant of the fourth century Irish High King Niall Noígíallach (“Niall of the Nine Hostages”), which makes him a cousin to both the king converted by St. Patrick and also to St. Columba.  To those who know Vince and his family, this connection to royalty and saintliness is no surprise.

*According to a 2006 Trinity College (Dublin) study

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