Irish in Kansas City
Mar 15, 2019
Pat O'Neill
Irish in Kansas City

Pat O'Neill is the author of From the Bottom Up: The Story of the Irish in Kansas City. The Irish, Kansas City's largest ethnic immigrant group ever, hauled stones to build foundations and buckets of water to put out fires. They cut the throats of a million cattle, laid miles of bricks and rails, drove the streetcars, kept and distrubed the peace, organized the working poor and kicked down barriers at City Hall and the courthouse for themselves and many generations and nationalities to come. Pat spent three years researching the history of the Irish in Kansas City and interviewing immigrants and their descendants. He is about to show us how the Irish in Kansas City rose from the bottom up.

Pat O’Neill is a fifth generation Kansas Citian

After managing a cemetery – he was over 2,000 people – and serving as editor of weekly newspapers in the Colorado Rockies, he joined his father’s Kansas City public relations firm in 1984. He started his own firm, specializing in media, marketing and community relations, in 1991. Today he serves as special counsel to O’Neill Events, which is owned and operated by his much smarter daughter, Keli O’Neill Wenzel.

The company is known for planning, orchestrating and promoting major citywide events, such as the openings of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, The President Hotel and many of KC’s top restaurants. O’Neill-managed events include Boulevardia, Taste of Leawood, the Builders’ Home Show, The Irish Fest, the Big 12 BBQ cook-off and the 2019 Air Show.

One of seven brothers, Pat is most proud of his family’s involvement in charitable and civic endeavors. He has served as President of the City of Fountains Foundation and as a director of the Heart of America Shakespeare Fest, the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Kansas City Landmarks Commission and the Jackson County Board of Services for the Developmentally Disabled. And he’s the not-so-secret media Elf for Kansas City’s Secret Santa.

He has written three books:

From the Bottom Up: The Story of the Irish in Kansas City

Celebrating a Century: The history of Redemptorist Church

And Dearest Mother: Letters from a Lonesome Sammy, 1916-1919

He’s now writing a book about the life of a colorful Irishman who was once considered the Daddy of Baseball. That book is due out later this year.