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Celtic Thunder, Irish Rock Group, Helps Out At Rockaway Beach

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A music group came all the way from Ireland to help with the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts on Rockaway Beach Monday. NY1's Agnes Chung filed the following report.

Rockaway Beach residents who were in line to pick up supplies at the Distribution and Warming Center on Beach 94th Street Monday found some very special volunteers waiting for them inside. It was music group Celtic Thunder.

"My daughter happens to love Celtic Thunder," said Regina McManus, who lives in Rockaway Beach. "I can't think of the guy she likes -- it's the one with the blond hair."

The six member group from Ireland made a pit stop from its international tour Monday to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy. The band members handed out shoes and blankets while chatting up fans.

"You hear the stories and it's something that really touched home with us," band member Emmet Cahill said. "You know we feel very blessed to be able do what we do and we're very lucky we've never gone through something like this. So when we see people in a time of need like this, we basically want to give something back."

The Celtic Thunder members volunteered before their benefit concert Monday night at Sullivan Hall in Manhattan. All of the proceeds will go to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.

"I'm grateful that they came here and are helping us out," said Rockaway Beach resident Colleen Mimnagh. "This is a very big Irish community -- you know this used to be called the Irish Riviera back in the day."

"We were just driving around and just looking at some of the destruction and you see the Irish flags on the homes on stuff and it drills it home," said band member Ryan Kelly. "There is obviously a connection, but there's so many nationalities here involved and we're just trying to raise awareness and raise a wee bit of money to get these people back on their feet again."

Billboard named the Irish folk and rock band last year's top world music artists of the year. Those Rockaway Beach residents who were not familiar with their music are certainly fans now.

All I listen to is gospel music," resident Rosemary Shephard said. "But after today I would buy their music and I would listen to it."

"Coming here is amazing," resident Mary Sweeney said. "I will be a fan no matter what they do."

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