Features

Kevin Conroy

January 2011

Kevin Conroy has been playing the bagpipes for the past 17 years. 

Having always wanted to learn the instrument, he happened upon a bagpipe player out in front of church one morning and Kevin asked all the right questions. 

“I told him I wanted to learn and told me who I should get in touch with and I’ve been playing ever since,” says.  Kevin.  He began taking lessons and playing for the Boston Firefighter Pipes and Drums.  And whether he’s marching in The St. Patrick’s Day Parade or marching down L Street on New Year’s Day, Kevin’s bagpipe is always at the ready.

Icy waters of the Boston Harbor

This past New Year’s Day, with unseasonably warm weather in the mid 50’s, the traditional Polar Plunge had record breaking crowds all lining up to jump into the icy waters of Boston Harbor.  10 years ago, Kevin organized a group to begin at L Street Tavern (Jacky “Woody” Woods is a good friend of Kevin’s) and march down L Street (escorted by bagpipes and drums of course) and into the water behind the L Street Bathhouse/Curley Recreation Center. 

“The first few years we did it to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy, both a Post Office and Firefighter charity, but for the past five years our charity is the Scleroderma Foundation,” says Kevin.
Kevin’s sister Liz (Conroy) Lombard, 53, and mother of 5 children suffers from the disease.  People come in from all over the Greater Boston area to take part in this event. And Kevin and his bagpipes make taking a dip in icy cold water in the middle of winter a fun time.

Just the facts

Kevin grew up on East Fourth Street and went to St. Brigid’s School.  He graduated from South Boston High School in 1975 just as forced busing in Boston was beginning. “My high school career was ending just as busing was beginning.  It was really a crazy time in Southie,” say Kevin.  After graduation he began working for the United States Postal Service and has been a letter carrier for the past 31 years.  He delivers in the Fort Point Station area of town.  He currently lives on West Eighth Street with is wife Nancy (Lynch – sister of US Congressman Stephen Lynch). 

Pipes and drums

After the New Year’s Day Plunge, Kevin gears up for his busiest season – St. Patrick’s Day.  He organizes another fun event on a Saturday in March before the parade.  The Greater Boston Firefighters Pipes and Drum Pub Crawl.  It’s a small fundraiser to help raise money for new instruments. The pub crawl begins at L Street Tavern and then marches to Tom English’s Cottage and then to the Quencher Tavern (escorted by bagpipes and drums of course) and ends at Touchie’s Shamrock Pub at the corner of H and Eighth. 

Kevin’s big heart and fun-loving nature captures the Southie spirit.  He embodies all the it means to be from Southie  – extreme generosity and kindness, and amazing wit.  When asked what his favorite part about living in Southie is, he answers with a smile, “Being able to leave a barrel in my parking spot until July.” 

To make a donation to the Scleraderma Foundation,  you can send checks to:
Kevin Conroy
169 West. Eighth Street
South Boston, MA 02127

For more information on the Scleroderma Foundation, go to www.scleroderma.org

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.