Eddie Delahunt’s energy makes O’Dowd’s a go-to spot for St. Patrick’s Day

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 11:44 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - O’Dowd’s has been through more than one iteration in its 32 years on the Plaza. The Irish pub is now a “gastropub.” The live music alternates with late-night DJs and dancing. But there’s been one constant: Eddie Delahunt.

The usual shamrock everything — suits, shirts, hats, face paint — you name it and you could see it pass by on St. Patrick’s Day at O’Dowd’s. Honestly, you could probably find about the same thing at a lot of establishments across the metro. But O’Dowd’s had something the others lacked.

“We’ve seen Eddie probably, what, 10 times?” Becky Moodie asked, turning to her husband.

“Every year,” her husband Ryan, replied.

They and the others sitting closest to the stage stood out because they knew all the words Delahunt was delivering.

“I do know all the words to most of the songs,” Ryan Moodie confirmed. “I just love all the music.”

This year, they brought their boys, ages 8 and 11, for the first time. Both clad in Fighting Irish sweatshirts, in honor of dad’s alma mater, they had finally reached the age when they wouldn’t be bored. We did catch 8-year-old Magnus spacing out for a bit, but 11-year-old Jack was pounding the table in time, smiling from ear to ear beneath his green tam.

“What’s your favorite part of St. Patrick’s Day?” we asked.

“Well, the music,” he said. “The music that he’s playing right now.”

Magnus’s response?

“I like about it that the singer knows all the words,” he said.

He’d better. Delahunt has been playing there for at least 30 of the 32 years the spot has been open in a managing partner’s best estimation.

“He’s still going. Still playing six hours rather than three or four like the youngsters,” said O’Dowd’s manager Tony Rhom.

He’s not exaggerating. Delahunt’s set was from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“It’s got to be grueling for him but it’s so much fun,” remarked Becky Moodie.

From call-and-response renditions of pub songs like “Seven Drunken Nights to sea shanties like “Drunken Sailor,” hands were clapping in rhythm. A man popped up from a booth for a brief jig. Delahunt acknowledged him by name.

“He’s a treasure,” declared Ryan Moodie. “He’s an absolute treasure for Kansas City.”

In the beginning, Delahunt was a staple every Sunday. Now, Rhom said, it’s just for special occasions like St. Patrick’s Day.