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Common Ground An Interview with John Martin
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Sunday, 29th July, marked a very special occasion in Philadelphia, which saw over 1,650 bicyclists gear up for the 25th Annual Irish Pub Tour de Shore.
Irish Pubs Global spoke to co-owner of The Irish Pub and President of the Irish Pub Children’s Foundation, Mark O’Connor, about this annual event and how an Irish Pub can stand out as a pillar of the community.
“The original Irish Pub is based in Atlantic City and is over forty years old and we have two units in Philadelphia, one 31 years old and the other 28 years old. This was the 25th Annual Tour de Shore;” says Mark.
According to Mark, the idea originated with Irish Pub co-owner Cathy Burke with the objective to connect both pubs in Philadelphia with the original pub based in Atlantic City. Since its inception, the Tour de Shore has raised over $2.7 million.
“This year, with 1,650 riders, we raised well over $500,000, with all the money going to local charities through the Irish Pubs Children Foundation;” says Mark.
According to Mark the event is associated with various law enforcement groups including the Philadelphia and Atlantic City Police Athletic Leagues and the FOP Survivors Fund, the South Jersey Fraternal Order of Police and the Art Sanctuary of Philadelphia.
“In the last eight or nine years, officers have died within Philadelphia and in the surrounding suburbs. We help support the families with scholarship money and so a number of our riders are law enforcement affiliated;” says Mark.
Mark admits that the event is a difficult challenge to host each year, “Logistically there is so much to do. But these are good problems to have, to grow that much, for example, this years event, we had 1650 gallons of water at the four rest stops, an additional 800 bottles of water at the party in Atlantic City and, of course, it is difficult to get people safely over sixty five miles to Atlantic City. That’s a real big challenge, but it is worthwhile.”
Mark also notes the sense of community spirit is key to the success of the event; “We have well over two hundred loyal volunteers, who come back year in, year out, and work so hard. When we get to Atlantic City, we hold a party, a barbecue, and we have a wall of heroes of many of the officers who have died in the line of duty. That is what sets us apart from other riding events in the US.”
The Annual Irish Pub Tour de Shore takes place each year in Philadelphia in July.
To find out more about the Irish Pub Children’s Foundation, please click on this link.