Living Legend Times
Living Legend Pat Troy: The Determined Irishman
Posted on Mar 01,2010
Photo by Nina
ALEXANDRIA, VA. - “Alexandria's history is filled with the
contributions of the Irish people who lived here,” Troy said. “It is
appropriate that we celebrate and recognize their contributions.”
Troy was raised near the banks of the Shannon River in Kilcormac
County, Ireland. In the 1960s, a 21-year-old Troy emigrated to the
U.S. with $50 in his pocket. A deeply religious man, he has been a
parishioner at St. Mary's Catholic Church for more than 30 years. Troy has
been married to his wife, Bernadette, for 45 years.
For decades, Pat Troy's Ireland's Own has been a gathering place for
lovers of Irish music, food, humor, beer, and, of course, whisky. Patrons
used to travel from throughout the metropolitan area just to watch a
costumed Troy lead them in “The Unicorn Song”.
On St. Patrick's day in 1988, Troy, a staunch Republican, hosted President
Ronald Reagan. After Troy roused the crowd with Irish songs, Reagan took
the stage. "When I was a little boy, my father proudly told me that
the Irish built the jails in this country," Reagan said. "Then
they proceeded to fill them."
In recent years, Troy's daughter Kathleen has assumed responsibility
for the day-to-day management of the restaurant. Despite his deteriorating
eyesight, he still makes his way from his home on Wolfe Street to chat
with patrons nearly every day.
is a tireless advocate for small businesses, and has twice run for a
seat on City Council. “I'm running because someone has to speak up for
the small business owner,” he said during his first campaign in 2003.
Although his campaigns were unsuccessful, he continues to appear before Council to advocate for street lights to be replaced and for Council to support its small businesses, which are “the life blood of the City,” Troy has told Council. He vigorously opposed the statewide smoking ban in restaurants and spoke against it at every opportunity. “People deserve a choice,” he said.
Troy served two terms as a governor on the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association. In 1980, he founded The Ballyshaners for the purpose of organizing and raising funds for the parade and to promote Irish culture.
“Alexandria's history is filled with the contributions of the Irish people who lived here,” Troy said. “It is appropriate that we celebrate and recognize their contributions.”
Now in its third year, Living Legends of Alexandria is an ongoing 501(c)(3) photojournalistic project to identify, honor and chronicle Alexandria's Living Legends. The project was conceived by artist-photographer Nina Tisara to create an enduring artistic record of the people whose vision and dedication make a tangible difference to the quality of life in Alexandria. The project is funded in part by a generous donation from the Rotary Club of Alexandria. This is one of a series of 12 profiles that will appear this year. For more information or to nominate a Legend for next year's program, visit www.AlexandriaLegends.com .