Irish ambassador, SC officials dedicate memorial

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP/WCIV) -- The Irish ambassador to the United States and other dignitaries have gathered in Charleston to dedicate a memorial noting the contributions of the Irish to the state of South Carolina.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley was joined by Irish Ambassador Michael Collins and other officials from Ireland during the Monday dedication.

"Without our ancestors' courage, we would not be here today," said Mayor Riley.

Senior Judge Patrick Duffy told an audience, many dressed in green, that it was a "once in a lifetime event for Charleston."

Irish Ambassador Michael Collins called the dedication a great day for Ireland and a great day for South Carolina.

Historians estimate that as many as 600,000 people in South Carolina are of Irish and Scotch-Irish descent.

The memorial in a small park has a concrete pier extending over the water and a raised 30-by-24-foot carved granite map of Ireland. It also includes flag poles with the Charleston, American and Irish flags along with plaques containing quotes about Irish immigration to this country.

The park was created by the city of Charleston and the South Carolina Irish Historical Society.