John Brennan Selected as 2020 Parade Grand Marshal!

The Ballyshaners

The Ballyshaners have selected John Brennan, an original owner of Daniel O’Connell’s Restaurant and Bar as Grand Marshal of the 2020 Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Brennan, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland and an Old Town homeowner has been an active member of Alexandria’s business community since opening Daniel O’Connell’s in 2006. O’Connell’s was recognized by the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce as the 2019 Best Medium Size Business of the Year.

John didn’t start his career as a restaurateur. He left Ireland in 1980 and went to Germany where he worked as a fitter/welder. In 1982 he moved to Australia where he worked in the mining and exploration sectors. In 1988, John formed and ran a successful company, constructing pipelines in all areas of the outback for companies such as BHP, Conoco Halliburton. After 15 years in Australia, the family moved back to Ireland in 1997, and opened an Australian themed restaurant in Waterford called the “Uluru and Outback” launching his interest in hospitality.

In 2004 Brennan, and Billy O’Sullivan, decided to open a restaurant in America. They looked at different areas and once they set foot in Old Town, both realized that this was the location for their new venture. They had a vision to bring a truly authentic Irish dining experience to America, highlighting modern Ireland’s bold and exciting culinary delights. In 2006 after Billy completed the build-out, Daniel O’ Connells opened its doors. Now, as Brennan says, “We are part of the furniture.” John and Margaret took sole ownership of O’Connell’s two years ago. Four members of the Brennan family have worked in O’Connell’s at various times over the years. With a complete change of management and direction the business is steadily growing year on year.


Ballyshaners means "Old Towners"
in Gaelic, the Irish language

The Ballyshaners, Inc., were founded in 1980 by a small group of dedicated volunteers for the explicit purpose of organizing a Saint Patrick's Day Parade in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. The Parade is now well into its fourth decade and the number and variety of participants is greater than ever before. Our goal is to promote and preserve Irish Heritage.

The organization’s mission has grown to promoting and preserving Irish history and culture. Each summer, we host the Alexandria Irish Festival, featuring vendors, musicians and traditional Irish dancers.

Our Ballyshaners Events Through The Year!

Home Staging in Fairfax County VA - Leslie Anderson interiors

Saint Patrick's Day Parade

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Home Staging in Fairfax County VA - Leslie Anderson interiors

Our Summer Irish Festival

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Home Staging in Fairfax County VA - Leslie Anderson interiors

More Ballyshaners' Events

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Upcoming Events

2020 St. Patrick's Day Parade Applications

Applications for the 2020 Parade are NOW OPEN! The Ballyshaners are pleased to offer this tribute to Irish culture and heritage for our 39th year in Old Town.

Ballyshaners Meetings

Learn more about our upcoming Membership Meetings.

Ballyshaners' 2020 Grand Marshall Installation and Dinner

Please join us as we celebrate John Brennan's installation as the Grand Marshal for the 2020 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Alexandria, Virginia.

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