Woman reunited with Irishmen five years after taking viral photo in Times Square

An American woman has spoken about the “positive power of social media” after she took a photo of three Irishmen in New York City in 2019 and was reunited with them in person five years later.

Christina Boniello, 28, from New Jersey, said she was on a solo trip to the city in May that year and was taking some photos during her travels, when three Irishmen stepped in front of her lens.

Ms Boniello, who works in broadcast production, snapped a photo of the trio and offered to send them a copy, but said the men replied, “we’ll find it someday”.

Almost five years later on April 6, the group were reunited in the same spot in New York where they recreated the image and went for lunch, with Ms Boniello saying it was like “old friends who have known each other forever”.

Woman and three men enjoying lunch together
Christina Boniello reunited with the Irishmen and met them for lunch in New York five years after they first met (Christina Boniello)

“There’s definitely, hopefully, a takeaway about the positive power of social media,” Ms Boniello told the PA news agency.

“Everybody can say what they will about social media but at the end of the day, something like this wouldn’t have happened any other way.

“They were saying they all have the photo framed in their houses.”

Recalling the events of five years ago, Ms Boniello said the three men “just sort of lined up in front of me, posing for a picture I didn’t know I was supposed to be taking”.

She said: “I offered to take a picture on their phone but they insisted it be on mine, they didn’t ask for a copy, they didn’t ask for an email address, they just said ‘we’ll find it someday’.”

After the first photo was taken in 2019, Ms Boniello said she deleted the image but later retrieved it from her phone and posted it to X, formerly Twitter, in the hopes someone may be able to identify the three men.

“Thank goodness for iPhones and my recently deleted album,” she said.

“I figured, ‘why not?’, so I tweeted it back then, five years ago, and within about an hour, somebody had identified who all three of them were and he had got the picture to them.

At the time, Ms Boniello wrote on X: “When I was in the city last week, these three Irishmen asked me to take a photo of them, but none of them had phones.

“‘You’ll take the picture and we’ll find it someday’.

“So if by some strange turn of events anyone knows these guys, here’s their photo.”

Ms Boniello said the image has garnered interest on social media for “pretty much every day” over the last five years, with people asking her if she managed to track down the group.

She added that in February this year, the person who originally identified the three men reached out and told her they would be returning to the city for the same reason as before – to watch County Mayo play against New York in Gaelic football (GAA).

Three Irishmen in Times Square New York
Christina Boniello took a photo of the three Irishmen again in the same spot five years later after reuniting with them (Christina Boniello)

“It was a no-brainer, I’ve been hearing about this everyday for the last five years so I gave them a time and place – I never had contact with them directly,” she said.

“It was like old friends who had known each other forever.

“It was weird seeing them in person but within a few minutes of who’s who, it was joyous and it was one of the most joyful days I can remember.”

Ms Boniello said she is hoping to make a trip to Ireland within the next five years to visit them, but if not, she is certain in the hopes they will return to New York.

She said: “I’ve got my calendar clear five years from now and I hope they do too but I also would be very open to visit Ireland again now I’ve got some good friends there.”