Arts & Entertainment

Nutley Irish hold 40th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The Essex County Emerald Society Police & Fire Pipe Band marches in the beginning of Nutley Irish American Association’s 40th annual Nutley St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 3. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
The Essex County Emerald Society Police & Fire Pipe Band is among 10 Bagpipers across New Jersey who marched in Nutley Irish American Association’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
Children of the Nutley Irish American Association hold the organization’s banner during their 40th annual parade. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
From left Parade Chaplain the Rev. Thomas Nicastro, 2017 Member of the Year Colleen Nielsen, NIAA President Thomas McEnery and 2013 Member of the Year Steve Tucholski march in the 40th annual parade. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
Nutley High School Raider Marching Band participates in Nutley’s St. Patrick Day Parade. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
Jada Valdez, 5, and her sister, Emma 9, of Nutley, get into the Irish spirit with green pompoms at the parade. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
Rachel, 6, and her sister, Samantha 4, of Nutley, show off their shamrock pants at the parade. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
Leprechaun Costantino Morillo, 6, watches the parade on Franklin Avenue on Saturday, March 3. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer

NUTLEY, NJ - Snow did not stop the Irish in Nutley on March 3. The 2nd’s nor’easter cleared out early Saturday morning just in time for the Nutley Irish American Association’s 40th annual Nutley St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade kicked off from Holy Family Church with the sun shining through the clouds as the dignitaries marched along Franklin Avenue.

Bagpipers included The Essex County Emerald Society Police & Fire Pipe Band, Columcille School of Piping & Drumming, Pipes and Drums of the Blue and Gold, Rory O’Moore School of Pipes and Drums, South Park & District Pipes & Drums, Passaic County Police and Fire Pipes & Drums, Union County Police and Fire Pipes and Drums, Jersey City Firefighters Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, St. Brendan the navigator Pipes and Drums and Essex Shillelagh Pipes and Drums.

Parade dignitaries were Grand Marshal Patrick Colligan, Deputy Grand Marshal Tammi Trible, Member of the Year Ellen Bennett, Parade Queen Tara Connor and Police Officer of the Year Joe O'Halloran.

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Grand Marshal

Patrick Colligan resides in East Brunswick with his wife Lynette and their three children Kayleigh, Connor, and Brenna.  He is the fifth of six children of his late parents, Francis “Frank” and Thelma Colligan. 

Colligan is extraordinarily proud of his Irish heritage.  He has been a member of the Central Jersey Police Emerald Society since 1993 and served on the executive board as vice-president for eight years.  In January 2015 Colligan was honored by the Irish Echo Newspaper in New York City with an Outstanding Leadership Award.  In September 2015 he was named Irishman of the Year at the Ship Bottom Irish Festival by the Ancient Order of Hibernians.  Colligan may be proudest of his recently discovered piece of Irish/American history.  His paternal great-great-great grandfather, Michael Duddy, arrived here from County Cork, Ireland in 1860 and joined the Union Army in 1861 to fight in the Civil War.  Duddy served three years in the 6th NJ Volunteers. He survived 18 battles including Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, the Battle of Fredericksburg, the Battle of Williamsburg, Bull Run, and virtually every other major battle.  Michael Duddy is buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Trenton.

Since childhood, he always wanted to be a police officer.  In August of 1992 at the age of 27, he was hired by the Franklin Township (Somerset County) Police Department.  He graduated from Class 9-92 of the Somerset County Police Academy where he served as class president and was the recipient of an academy leadership award.

During his Law Enforcement career, Colligan has received well over a dozen awards, citations, and commendations.  He is a founding member of the County Firewatch Program, a preventive program for juvenile fire setters.  He also is a charter member of the County Arson Task Force. 

On July 1, 2014, he became president of New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association. He established the first Political Action Committee in the history of the PBA, which garners over $400,000 annually to assist with the PBA’s lobbying efforts. 

Colligan was appointed by Governor Jon Corzine to the Task Force on Police Suicides, which developed a successful video and program to curtail what was an alarming trend of police suicides. Corzine also appointed him to the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission where he served from 2009 to 2011.


Deputy Grand Marshal

Tammi Trible’s Irish Heritage stems from her paternal grandfather William Cassidy. Cassidy was born just outside of Glasgow, Scotland.  His family had left Northern Ireland to find work in the shipyards in Scotland, as being Catholic in the Protestant north made it difficult to find work.  In 1928, he made the voyage to America with his family.  Her grandfather remembered arriving in Hoboken on a day so foggy that he wasn’t able to see the Statue of Liberty. Troble’s father has fond memories of her grandfather and family members telling funny stories with their Scottish brogue. 

Trible was born in Belleville and moved to Nutley at the age of 13.  She is the daughter of Kevin and Diane Cassidy.  She is one of five children, Dawn, Kristina, Kevin and Will. Trible has a daughter, Ashley, who is in her third year at Kean University. Ashley has never shied away from a deed, such as donating her time and talent to work alongside her mother in charitable work. Together, they have made candy cane reindeer to pass out at hospitals every Christmas as well as collecting food for St. Mary’s Church Pantry and Toys for Kids Without.   

Following the loss of Trible’s husband, Wayne, to a rare form of cancer in March 2006, it was important for them to keep his memory alive.  This led to volunteering for the Relay for Life of Nutley.  Trible became The American Cancer Society’s CPS-3 chair.  She was also the fundraising chair and is currently the event chair. Trible is also the founder and creator of the “Walking in Faith” fashion show. 

Tribe is the owner of Photo Arts Productions Photography Studio, formerly known as Wonderland Studio, in Nutley.  She and her business partner, Alexander Wenkel, are the photographers for Nutley Neighbors Magazine.  They use the studio for community fundraisers, such as, holiday photos, family portraits, pet photos, glamour day with kids.

Trible also is a caregiver for the elderly and helps at the kids Camp Nutley.  She is on the Rosary Society at Saint Mary’s Church and is a member of the Nutley Women’s Networking Group.


Member of the Year

Ellen Bennett was born and raised in Belleville by her parents Anne and Michael Bennett, she is the eldest sister to Katherine Bennett and Alicia Bennett Frannicola, and sister-in-law to Robert Frannicola.  Bennett graduated from Belleville High School in 1998 and received her bachelor of arts degree in communications from Kean University in 2002.  She has been employed by Active International, an advertising agency located in Pearl River, New York, for the past 15 years where she is now a media supervisor.

Bennett was named after her maternal grandmother and her father’s sister.  She attributes her love for her Irish culture and heritage to both her parents.  Her mother was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and her father was born and raised in the Bronx, NY.  Her paternal grandparents were from County Cork and County West Meath, where her father met her mother while he was visiting family in Ireland.  They married in Ireland and moved to Belleville.  Having close ties to Ireland, Ellen, along with her sisters, truly values the family relationships they have with their family in Ireland and they see each other often on either side of the ocean.

From the age of five until she started college, Bennett practiced Irish step dancing with the Peter Smith School of Irish Dancing.  During this time, she competed in various competitions, such as weekend Feis’ and the annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Oireachtas each November.  A few highlights from her dancing days were performing at numerous St. Patrick’s Day events and parades, along with dancing on the great stages of both Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall, as part of the entertainment for the Irish tenor Frank Patterson’s concerts. 

Being an active parishioner of Holy Family Church in Nutley, she volunteers at many of their events, including their annual Italian Festival where she helps out working the games.  Also an active member of the NIAA, Bennett has helped at various fundraisers including being the captain of the NIAA Relay for Life team.  Raising funds for the American Cancer Society has been a passion of hers after having seen family members and friends battle this disease, in addition to Bennett herself being a thyroid cancer survivor since November of 2011.


Police Officer of the Year

James 'Joe' O'Halloran was born in Kearny to his late father Joseph (Butch), and Vicki (nee Clunie) O'Halloran. He is a fifth generation Irish American.  His paternal family lineage traces back to County Clare and Galway in the mid-1800s. O'Halloran has been a Nutley resident for nearly 50 years, going through the Nutley school system and graduating Nutley High School in 1983 and attended William Paterson University.

In January 1997, O'Halloran was hired by the Nutley Police Department and served in the Patrol Division until 2014. He then became the township’s traffic safety officer and also the first motorcycle officer in 20 years. He has many specialized training certifications, mostly in crash investigation, traffic control and enforcement. He is an academy level instructor, instructing new police officers before they hit the streets. He served in patrol with his brother, Michael, until he retired in 2013. O'Halloran serves as the vice president for the PBA Local #33 union and has since 2000.

O'Halloran serves as an assistant scout master for Nutley Boy Scout Troop # 147. He is also a district leader for the Nutley Democratic County Committee. He is a member of the Blue Knights Newark Chapter NJ IV Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club.

O'Halloran is the father four children, Samantha, Kelly, Joseph and Aidan.


Parade Queen

Tara Nicole Connor is 24 years old and a life-long resident of Nutley. 

Connor is a former Irish dancer from the Ardmore Academy of Irish Dance. Connor has traveled to Ireland in 2000 and again in 2014. The Connor Family traces their roots back to County Roscommon, Ireland. Connor’s paternal grandmother Anna “Grannie” O’Grady was from Lung, Ballaghaderreen while her grandfather Dank “grandpa” was from Tibohine. They eventually emigrated from Ireland and resided in Brooklyn, NY before settling down in North Arlington. Her mother’s side of the family originated from Ireland and Germany.

Connor’s maternal great-great-great-grandparents came from County Cork.  Mary Fiore and Miles McSweeney met in NY where they later married.  Her great-great-grandfather Patrick Brennan, left Northern Ireland for America during the Potato Famine.  Her great-great-grandparents Anne Lenehan and John Healey also came from Ireland and met in Chicago, Illinois.  Healey worked for the railroad and his work eventually relocated his family to Jersey City. 

Connor is a parishioner of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church. Connor is a 2012 graduate of Nutley High School and a 2016 graduate of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She graduated with a bachelors of arts degree in English and a certificate for secondary education. Connor currently works as a middle school teacher at the Academy of Saint Joseph of the Palisades in West New York.

She has grown up surrounded by her siblings, Allison, Andrew, Joseph, and Matthew, and her 21 cousins.

While visiting her nan and pop Healey in Spring Lake Heights, she volunteers with her grandmother at the local VNA thrift shop. In addition, she has found a helping hand at her school, St. Joseph of the Palisades.  Last year, she engaged her students in writing and sending letters and care packages to her cousin, Patrick, and his fellow soldiers while they were deployed in the Middle East. With help from her school, Connor recently teamed up with St. Mary’s Nutley in a very successful campaign collecting travel sized goods, toys, and food for the less fortunate in various countries. is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is the only locally owned news organization serving the community. Sign up for our FREE daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @TAPintoNutley 

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TAPinto Nutley is proud to be a sponsor of the Nutley Chamber of Commerce 5K (May 6), Nutley Relay for Life (May 18), Rock Hunger at the Old Canal Inn (June 22), Nutley Family Service Bureau Garden Party (Sept.9), Santa's Arrival (Nov. 23), and the 41st Annual Nutley St. Patrick's Day Parade (March 2, 2019)

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