Patricks, Padraigs, Pats, and Paddys have taken over Pershing Square Plaza. In a new photo installation outside Grand Central Terminal, passersby will see 50 portraits of men that share those names. Through the Paddy Irishman Photography Project, artist Ross O’Callaghan seeks to challenge the global stereotype of the ‘Irish Paddy’ and showcase the diversity of the contemporary Irish male.

Paddy Irishman Project
Paddy O’Reilly, Ross O’Callaghan, Paddy Mulcahy, Roisin Keown, Peter Snodden, and Paddy Bradley at the Pershing Square unveiling, Photo Courtesy of the Paddy Irishman Project

O’Callaghan’s portraits capture a diverse group of men from different walks of life across Ireland selected from a pool of 500 applicants. After three years in the works, the large-scale portrait installation is now on display on the sidewalks of New York City.

The subjects represent an intergenerational cross-section of Irish men, challenging the idea that there’s any such
thing as a typical Paddy. Paddy Smyth, an Irish activist with cerebral palsy featured in the project said, “When you hear the word Paddy abroad you don’t think of an Irish disability activist who’s gay, so I love Ross’s vision for this project. I’m Paddy many things, and modern Ireland is diverse. The word Paddy and Irish men in general
abroad have a certain stereotype… and it’s about time someone challenged that.”

Paddy Martins for the Paddy Irishman Project
Paaddy Martins, Photo by Ross O’Callaghan

Some of the Paddys photographed include comedian and TV personality, Patrick Kielty; double bronze Olympic boxer Paddy Barnes; Nigerian-born actor, Patrick Martins; Paddy Kehoe the veteran racehorse owner, and Limerick electronica musician Paddy Mulcahy.

Created in partnership with the New York Irish Center, the New York City Department Of Transport (NYC DOT) Arterventions program, and the Grand Central Partnership, the Paddy Irishman Photography Project is part of a week-long public multi-media installation that also features audio interviews. The installation follows an immersive exhibition at Lume Studios, Tribeca, which ran for two days this week.

Paddy Irishman Project
Paddyirishman Photo Exhibit Lume Studio, Broadway NYC. March 14, 2023 Photo: James Higgins

The Pershing Square Plaza installation will be on view through March 22nd, while the full suite of images will also be displayed in the New York Irish Centre in Queens throughout April to coincide with the center’s events to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

O’Callaghan says he would like to continually update the project to reflect the perpetually changing story of Ireland’s Paddys. “It’s an ever-evolving story, and we can keep it going if we get the support we need to fund it,” he added. See more of O’Callaghan’s photos in the slideshow below.

  • Portrait of Paddy Blue
  • Paddy Irishman Project
  • Paddy Irishman Project
  • Paddy Irishman Project
  • Paddy Dunning, Paddy Irishman Project
  • Paddy Irishman Project

Next, check out 10 Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day