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Leadership & Staff

The Irish Fair of Minnesota is led by a group of dedicated volunteer board members.

Board of Directors

Tom Whelan, Board Chair

Tom Whelan, Board Chair

Smiling middle-aged woman with short black hair and magenta highlights

Lourdes Hernandez-Dayton, Vice Chair

Lourdes joined the board in 2022 after having been involved with the Irish Fair as an employee of a marketplace vendor for years. After years in a corporate position with a medical device company, she's returned to her roots in retail.

Lourdes' Cotter ancestors come from County Cork. She has visited Ireland multiple times, but has much more of Ireland to explore!
Smiling woman with long brown hair and rainbow extensions

Jayna Brede, Secretary

Jayna has been involved with Irish Fair for 12 years in various capacities – starting as an Intern, then to Area Manager of the Merchandise Tent, to Food Operations Manager; and ultimately, her current role as Secretary of the Board and co-chair of the Food & Beverage Committee.
She says that it is the people and the community which drew her in – working together as a community to make the fair happen, and having fun along the way.
Ben Johnson, Treasurer

Ben Johnson, Treasurer

Kate Wade

Kate Wade

Niall MacCafferty

Niall MacCafferty

Niall MacCafferty brings a wealth of hospitality industry knowledge to our board, and we're so stoked to have him!

Not only does he have decades of experience at the helm of some pretty popular local watering holes (O'Donovan's, Jake O'Connor's, most recently Doolittle's Woodfire Grill), but his Irish community "cred" is unparalleled, having been (among many endeavors in the local Irish community) a founding member and past president of the Twin Cities Robert Emmets hurling club.

Niall's Irish roots run deep, as his Derry-born father ran the legendary MacCafferty's Pub on Grand Avenue in St. Paul in the 1970s and 80s.
Ryan Downes

Ryan Downes

Irish Fair Board member Ryan Downes started with us at the beginning of 2023, and brings his diligence and tenacity with him! He comes from a proud Irish-American background, tracing his roots back to Limerick and Kilkenny (that must be quite a divided household when those two hurling powerhouses go at it!), and spent a semester abroad at University College, Dublin.

Ryan is an associate attorney with Anthony Ostlund Louwagie Dressen & Boylan in Minneapolis and graduated from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. In his spare time he enjoys genealogical research, trips to the cabin, and playing hockey.
woman with blonde hair and glasses in a raincoat in front of the Irish coast

Macy Ashby

Macy has been involved with the Irish Fair in a variety of capacities and now also serves on the board! She has long been interested in Ireland and Irish history, and has family roots in County Donegal.

Macy is a high school history teacher, currently working in Minneapolis. She travels when she can, and is always excited to see new places!
Mike Wiley

Mike Wiley

Mike has been involved with the Irish Fair if Minnesota for over 20 years. In those 20+ years, he has served as Board Chair, Entertainment Chair, Vice Chair and Dance Tent Manager.

Mike currently manages the main stage, along with booking our headline and featured entertainers. Over the years, Mike has built an extensive worldwide network of musicians, managers, agents and fellow festival entertainment directors which he taps into to bring the best entertainers to the Irish Fair of MN year after year.

In addition to serving on our board, Mike is on the Executive Committee of the Association of Irish and Celtic Festivals (AIFC), which is a collaborative of over 50 festivals across North America.
Hans "Holiday" Horning

Hans "Holiday" Horning

Mike Moriarity

Mike Moriarity

Mike joined the Irish Fair Board in 2024 after years of volunteering in the Pub Tent and other locations. His love of Irish music and culture was accelerated when he studied at Trinity College in Dublin for his senior year of college. He met his wife Patty (who is even more Irish then he is) at the old MacCafferty’s on Grand Ave in St Paul. Mike is a retired attorney who spent 33 years working in the Minnesota court system in a number of parajudicial and administrative roles. He is looking forward to working with the wonderful volunteers we have every year.
Smiling blonde woman with glasses in a white collared shirt wearing an apron

Shelagh Geraghty Mullen

Shelagh Geraghty Mullen is passionate about Ireland and everything about it. She has traveled to that glorious country numerous times. One of her recent trips was a culinary program at the Dublin Cookery School. Upon her return, she now fancies herself the Irish Chef of Minnesota. Shelagh holds cookery classes (SheCooks Design) in her Saint Paul home kitchen (not all Irish, of course!), teaches for private/corporate events, and hosts a food tour of Ireland called GráBia (roughly translated means ‘love food’). Shelagh’s goal is to debunk the myths about Irish food not being delicious. There has been a real Renaissance in Irish food and cooking, and Shelagh wants to share it all with you. She's also a graphic designer who designs creative packaging for local food makers.

Staff and Interns

Sarah Van Sickle, Event Manager

Sarah Van Sickle, Event Manager

Adam Coolong, Office Manager

Adam Coolong, Office Manager

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