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Emerald Reflections Online

Table of Contents -- November 1998

You are viewing the electronic version of Emerald Reflections,
the monthly publication of the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin

The Chicago Experience: Martin Dooley Meets Studs Lonigan

Dane County Shamrock Club

Greater LaCrosse Area

Lafayette County Shamrock Club

Milwaukee President's Message

Irish Musical Star Tony Kenny's tour to include Madison

Holiday Folk Fair Tickets for Sale

The First Ceili

Cathie Ryan Trio In Concert

Six Mile Bridge -- ICHC November 20

Fist Friday Lecture Series -- Celtic Women International

Donn's Poetry Corner

Welcome New Members

1998 Milwaukee St. Patrick's Day Parade Video Tape for Sale

Milwaukee Calendar of Events

The Chicago Experience:
Martin Dooley Meets Studs Lonigan

by Brian Witt

There have been many portrayals of the Irish in American literature over the years, some by Irish and Irish American writers, and by others. Some of the more famous Irish characterizations are Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind," from Georgia writer Margaret Mitchell; Jimmy Molloy, the protagonist in John O'Hara's "The Doctor's Son" and "Butterfield 8;" Fancie Nolan, the heroine of Betty Smith's novel "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn;" and the characters of Edwin O'Connor's fictionalized life of the extremely colorful Boston mayor, James Michael Curley, in "The Last Hurrah." (The movie version could have been retitled "Three Irishmen From Milwaukee," as the leads were played by Spencer Tracy, Pat O'Brien, and Jeffrey Hunter, three Irishmen from Milwaukee.)

The literary life of America has been enriched by the contributions of such writers as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mary McCarthy, Fitz James O'Brien, John Boyle O'Reilly, and Flannery O'Conner. The 1950s, 60s and 70s saw the rise of a number of new writers, such as Jimmy Breslin, John Gregory Dunne, William Kennedy, Pete Hamill, J P Donleavy, James Carroll, Tom Clancy, Mary Higgins Clark, and her brother, Jack Higgins, as well as others.

There were two people that helped to define the Irish American experience unlike others. They were both Chicago based writers, and their most famous characters were located in the Windy City. These were the writers Finley Peter Dunne and James T. Farrell. Though they were of different generations, and of completely different writing styles, both men were far ahead of others in their approach.

Finley Peter Dunne was a Chicago newspaperman during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His most famous creation was the owner of a Chicago saloon, Martin Dooley. Martin Dooley was an Irish immigrant who lived in Bridgeport, Chicago's south side Irish enclave. (Bridgeport was home to a number of Chicago politicians, including both mayors Richard Daley.) Dooley's perspective on the foibles and successes of the residents of the area entertained millions of Americans in Dunne's syndicated columns. Martin Dooley spoke with an Irish accent, and his speech was filled with a great deal of Irish colloquialisms. Although the use of Irish dialect was not new in American fiction, the lack of a "stage Irish" stance by Dunne in his main character made Dooley a sympathetic, invigorating presence.

Dooley provided political and social commentary on contemporary Chicago, often to the chagrin of local officials. What was local news to the people of the neighborhoods and the wards would find its way into the mouths of Martin Dooley and the denizens of his tavern, and then into the nation's life. Peter Finley Dunne wrote about Bridgeport and Martin Dooley from 1893 until 1919, when Dunne took a job with an eastern newspaper. By that time, the modern Irish American character had become a part of American life.

Whereas the characterizations of Finley Peter Dunne's characters were sympathetic, although occasionally roughhewn, the lives of the writer James T. Farrell were downright raw in their presentation. Farrell's most famous character was the Chicago hoodlum William "Studs" Lonigan. Farrell's Lonigan was based on childhood friends from his Chicago Irish neighborhood. "Studs Lonigan" was the story of a group of friends who drank and smoked too early, lived life in a hard manner, and, in many cases, died too young, or became alcoholics or drug users. They experimented early and often with sex, a new development in American fiction of the time, and didn't feel that life had any opportunities for them. The character that was based on Farrell himself was considered the lucky one of the group, as he was in college, and was looked upon as having a chance to break away from old patterns. However, even Farrell's alter-ego was bound by the ropes of the past. His character, Farley, observed, "I am a second generation Irish American. The effects and scars of immigration are upon my life."

Farrell never felt that the character of Studs Lonigan was inherently evil. Although he was the leader of a gang that robbed without thought, beat up people that got in their way, and treated women terribly, Lonigan was portrayed with an even-handed approach by Farrell, who didn't pass judgment on his creation. Rather, Lonigan was a character of his times, not finding sustenance in the Catholic Church or the hard, dreary jobs of his parents. He was forced to be the focal point of his friends, and felt he had to carry their burdens and fears as their leader. Any dreams were buried, and any feelings of kindness were interred with his dreams.

Farrell was a lifelong socialist. He left the Catholic Church early on, and left Chicago for New York in the late 1930s. His harsh assessment of the lives of so many of his friends was met initially with disbelief, and then literary acceptance. After his departure from Chicago, Farrell rarely ventured back to the lives of these south side Chicago Irish.

Finley Peter Dunne's kindly and comic Martin Dooley may not seem to be related to James Farrell's angry, brutal Studs Lonigan, at least superficially. Martin Dooley was of the generation of Lonigan's parents, or even grandparents. However, both of them provided America with a new, and vividly different view of Irish Americans. Both were commentators on the life of a Chicago neighborhood that previously had never been seen. Both would help to change the perceptions of Irish Americans. And both would forever be imprinted on the imaginations of Americans, and Irish Americans.

Dane County Shamrock Club

NOVEMBER 10 Regular membership Meeting, 7:30 p.m. at the Senior Center. Jack Holzueter from the State Historical Society will speak.

DECEMBER 8 at Jingles, 232 E. Olin Ave., 2nd Floor, details given below.

All members were mailed a post card the 5th of October giving information for October, November and December meetings. At this time we wish to add the final details of the Christmas Dinner-Program which were finalized at the October Board meeting.


  • Tuesday, December 8, 1998 at Jingles.
  • Cocktails: 6 p.m.; Dinner: 6:30 p.m.
  • Choice of entrée: stuffed chicken breast, beef stroganoff, or vegetable stir-fry. Dinner menu includes entrée, salad, roll, beverage,and dessert.
  • Cost $12 for adults; $5 for children.
  • Reservations should be sent to: Mary Hearn 3048 Woods Edgeway Madison, WI 53711
  • Please indicate your choice of entrée. Send a check payable to Dane County Shamrock Club. Reservations must be prepaid by November 16, 1998. Dinner will be followed by our traditional candle-lighting ceremony.

We would like to send Get-Well wishes to Marquerite Rideout and to Bill Murphy both of whom had surgery recently. We would like to extend our sympathy to Ruth Tormey and family on the death of her brother.

We would like to congratulate three members of our Shamrock Club who have been honored recently by articles in the press. Shirley Armstrong in a very interesting article in the Edgewood college Today, Summer '98 issue, telling of Shirley's involvement with St. Marys Hospital Laboratories, as Irish Person of the Year by the Dane County Shamrock Club for 1998, and as a member of the Emerald Isle Ceili Band.

Richard March, also a member of our Ceili Band, was pictured and written about in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for his work with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. earlier this summer, and also the State of Wisconsin's Folklife Festival in Madison.

Our third member to be "covered" by the State Journal is Nelle Hogan Murphy in a very interesting article telling of Nelle's long involvement with the Republican Party and lending her "knowledge" to GOP candidates since the 1970s.

Margaret Courtney

Greater LaCrosse Area

Irishman Art Gale and Irish Rose Sharon Candahl

Irishman Art Gale and Irish Rose Sharon Candahl

Irishman Art Gale and Irish Rose Sharon Candahl are shown enjoying the Shamrock Club float in our Octoberfest Parade on October 3rd. And fine decoration they are!

It did not rain that day until after we had completed the parade route. Was that the "Luck of the Irish?"

A General Club Meeting will be held at Schmidty's in LaCrosse on November 4th at 7 p.m. A "Mystery Night" will follow. Order of business that night will include final preparation for our Christmas Party on December 9th.

Fred Smith

Lafayette County Shamrock Club

Editor's Note: The following Lafayette County column was sent some time ago but it didn't reach Emerald Reflections until too late for the October issue. Here it is for November.

The Lafayette County Shamrock Club met August 31 at the Darlington Country Club. The summer was filled with many parades Canoe Fest, Darlington-Disney Parade, Platteville Twin-a-Rama at Cassville and the 4th of July Parades in Shullsburg and Wiota. The Club now has four floats to use for events.

Eight club members attended Irish Fest in Milwaukee in August. We were entertained with great Irish music, dancers, spirits and food. The Mass Sunday in the Marcus Theater is always a highlight of Irish Fest.

New officers for the coming year are:

  • President: Donna Douglas
  • Vice President: Patti Leahy
  • Secretary: Margie Keyes
  • Treasurer: Rachel Suthers
  • Membership: Bev Mulcahy
  • Sunshine: Eileen Wilhelmson
  • Historian: Liz Barth
  • Sergeant of Arms: Jerry Leahy

In September we were in the Labor Day Parade in Benton; Sept. 18 Cheese Days in Monroe, and Sept. 26 Pumpkin Fest Parade in Warren, IL.

"Go raibh Maith Agat" to our young Irish dancers and a special thanks to club member "Irish Ed" Flanagan who provides the ride to Dubuque for the lessons. We are having a pizza party for all your efforts.

Donna Douglas

Milwaukee President's Message

For those of you who were unable to join us at the October 1st General Membership Meeting, I would like to relay details of an important decision the Club made that evening.

Via extensive discussion and several votes, we scaled back our level of participation in Holiday Folk Fair this year. We will be involved in only a sales booth (for-profit) and one cultural activity (non-profit). The cultural activity, this year, will be the Cashel-Dennehy Irish Dancers. Per Holiday Folk Fair's ( International Institute's) policies, that is the minimum required to continue to participate in this event.

[NOTE: A very special Thank You to the Board of Director's of the Cashel-Dennehy School of Irish Dance for their graciously agreeing to accept whatever decision we, The Shamrock Club of Wisconsin, arrived at as to our levels of participation.]

In prior years, The Shamrock Club has been a very complete and active member and participant in the Holiday Folk Fair. We have routinely managed four separate operations: two for-profit, (food and sales), and, two non-profit, (cultural and dance), ventures.

The major reason that the Club decided to reduce our level of involvement is that this year's Holiday Folk Fair is to be held, on the lakefront, under some tenting, at the Maier Festival Grounds, on the weekend of November 20-22.

The Club's decision was not hasty. The Folk Fair Committee and the Board of Director's spent a considerable amount of time and effort in thoroughly researching and debating the options before bringing the matter to the General Membership for their discussion and votes. Ideally, had we been given adequate and timely notice of the location change, we would have published the issue prior to the discussion and votes.

Further, because The International Institute of Wisconsin / Holiday Folk Fair requires us to purchase 125 tickets, we have decided to reduce the price to our members and the parents of the Cashel Dennehy Dancers, to $5.00. That is a discount of $1.00 per ticket and the Club will absorb the excess cost, per admission. So, please, purchase your tickets from The Shamrock Club. You can do so at our November 5th General Membership Meeting, or by contacting the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center at (414)345-8800. Remember, we are required to pay full face value for all unsold tickets.

We will still need many volunteers to assist with our Sales Booth, so please sign-up to help by contacting Jean Bills by phone, [Work: (414) 257-3770 / Residence: (414) 453-2842 --- Answering Machines at both numbers], or, in-person at the November 5th General Membership Meeting.

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I need to express my most sincere gratitude to all of our extremely hard working and truly dedicated volunteers. Thanks, especially, to all of you for granting me the honor of serving you as your President.

Happy Thanksgiving !

Dale Brenon

Irish Musical Star
Tony Kenny's Tour to include Madison

Irish singing sensation Tony Kenny will return to the United States in November, l998 to commence a six week national tour. "An Evening in Ireland" starring Tony Kenny will be presented in Madison, WI for one show only on November 17, 1998 at 8PM at Memorial High School Auditorium. This fast paced musical variety show which also features Noel V. Ginnity, Dermott O'Brien, Deirdre Reilly, Musical Director Seamus Brett and World Champion Irish Dancers will create a magical evening which transports the audience directly to the Emerald Isle. Tickets for this special show are $18 and are available at Patrick's/Look of the Isles, Hilldale Shopping Center, Madison or by calling 608 231 1707.


NOVEMBER 20-21-22, 1998

The Shamrock Club must sell 125 Holiday Folk Fair Tickets

Please send me ________________ advance sale Folk Fair Tickets at $5.00 each, a savings of $3.00 per ticket.




Mail your ticket request to: MURIEL CROWLEY, 1020 Georges Ave., Brookfield, WI 53045

Your tickets will be sent to you by return mail, and are good any of the three days of Folk Fair, November 20, 21, 22.


The First Ceili

Many people are very familiar with the term "Ceili" when it comes to the folk dancing of Ireland. However, most people probably don't realize when and where the first time the word "ceili" was used in conjunction with such dances.

According to Dr. John Cullinane, in his book "Aspects of the History of Irish Ceili Dancing," (1998. Central Remedial Clinic, Dublin, and available from Dr. Cullinane at 55 Bandon Rd., Cork City, Co. Cork, Ireland), the term was first used in London, in 1897. The dance was part of the Gaelic League celebrations. The following is part of Dr. Cullinane's book:

"The following account of 'The First Ceili in London 1897,' based on a report by Fionàn Mac Colum, (in the Minute Book of the London Branch), was obtained during a visit to the Gaelic League premises in London in 1979 and was first reported briefly by me in 1980.

"Fionàn Mac Colum came from Kerry and worked at the India Office in London, and later worked for the (Gaelic) League in Dublin and subsequently for the Folklore Commission in Dublin. He was the first secretary of the London Gaelic League, and was always seeking methods of increasing the League's activities. He visited the already established and well organized Scottish Ceili evening held in London, to obtain some ideas on how to organize Irish events. He reported back to the president, Prionnsias O'Fathaugh, who was interested to hear about the name 'Ceìlì,' used for Scottish events.

"The London Irish were already using the word 'Seilgì' for their own day outings to Eppings Forest. O'Fathaigh, on hearing about the Scottish term, smiled, and said 'Seilgì and Cèilithe Cèilithe and Seilgì.' Following discussion with the Ard Coiste (Standing Committee), it was decided to adopt the term 'Cèilithe' for the social events to be organized by the London branch.

"Subsequently, the term (Cèilithe/Cèili) became used worldwide. 'Cèilithe' became modified to 'Cèili,' and it is this latter version that is almost always used. According to Mac Colum, the word Cèili was not used at the time, except in Ulster and Scottish Gaelic. The word generally in use was 'Siamsa.' The word Cèili in Cavan meant going to a neighbor's house, and just a group of people visiting, but no dancing. 'Bothanaiocht' or 'Scoriocht' in Munster. So the term Ceili, referring to a social evening of figure dancing and other entertainment, i.e., as we know it today was first introduced by the London Irish.

"Feilie Gaelach Samhain 1897

"Mac Colum and O'Fathaigh were extremely impressed by the way the Scottish conducted their social evening and decided that they would organize a social evening along the same lines as the Scottish one Members of the London Branch were informed that a celebration would be held to mark the Fèile Gaelach Samhain (November Irish Festival), and this would be a 'Ceilithe,' organized on October 30, 1897 in Bloomsbury Hall near the British Museum. This was the first Irish Cèili ever organized. The London Irish immigrants, in organizing this social evening, made a major contribution to Irish culture, one that was to affect the social life of the Irish communities all over the world."

Dr. John Cullinan is one of the best known Irish dance teachers and adjudicators in the world. He is a multiple All-Ireland and Worlds championship dancer. He is a professor at University College, Cork. His books on Irish Dance (Irish dancing Costumes, Irish Dancing in North America, and Irish Ceili Dancing) are published by the Central Remedial Clinic, which is an Irish national organization set up for the treatment, care, and development of children and adults with physical disabilities. Services are provided for people with physical conditions ranging from the very rare to the more familiar, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy and arthogryposis. Profits from the sales of Dr. Cullinane's books go back to the CRC. For more information on CRC, write to them, at Central Remedial Clinic, Penny Ansley Building, Vernon Ave., Clontar, Dublin, 3, Ireland. Their telephone number is 353-1-8332206.

Ceilis have become an integral part of the life of the Milwaukee Irish. There are two regularly scheduled monthly ceilis, the Cashel Ceili on the first Friday of each month, and the set dance ceili, the last Saturday of most months.

Cathie Ryan Trio In Concert

Friday November 13, 1998; 8 p.m. ICHC

2133 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee


Tickets: $15 Advance, reserved / $17 Door

"Cathie Ryan is a rare talent. From her Irish family, she has inherited a wonderful voice and repertoire; from her country, she has inherited a great understanding for many styles of music." Irish Edition. (Cathie's Irish-born parents settled in Detroit where she was born and grew up.) Cathie Ryan is a member of a new generation of Irish-American musicians and vocalists, expertly trained by the tradition's best teachers but determined to honor all the music swirling inside them.

For over seven years Cathie Ryan was the lead singer for the world renowned traditional music group, Cherish the Ladies. Now embarked on a solo career, Cathie performs a mix of traditional gems, contemporary songs by folk songwriters including Dougie MacLean, Gerry O'Beirne and Sean Tyrrell as well as her original songs such as "When Detroit Was Burning" or "Eveline" inspired by James Joyce.

Six Mile Bridge ICHC November 20

The Houston based Irish music group, Six Mile Bridge, will be at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center's Friday Night Cabaret on Nov. 20, 1998, at 8 p.m. This group has a very diverse mixture of traditional and folk rock. Six Mile Bridge is a Milwaukee favorite. Cost: $5 at the door.

First Friday Lecture Series

From 5:30 to 7 p.m. on the First Friday of each month, join Celtic Women International for an enlightening lecture and a cup of tea. Admission at the door is $5 each person. Lectures are presented at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center, 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee.

The schedule of upcoming lectures is as follows:

November 6: Cecile-Marie Sastre: Galician woman.

December 4: Holiday Social; bring a Celtic Christmas treat to share.

January 8: Liz Rowe: Scottish/Irish woman; talks about Flora MacDonald and Lady Ann Mackintosh, important women in the Scottish Jacobite movement.

February 5: International Arts Festival, special Irish speaker to be confirmed.

March 5: Same as above.

April 6: Cindy Matyi: Celtic artist; creator of the oil paintings on display at the ICHC from October to April.

The purposes of the Celtic Women Internationl are as follows:

To honor and celebrate Celtic women world-wide, who have attained some degree of success in their lives or careers; they may be famous, they may be locally, nationally or internationally known; they may be alive or dead. They will inspire all women of Celtic origins to higher attainments.

To produce and host an annual Celtic Women's Conference which will address topics and issues of importance to Celtic women. Speakers will be invited who have an international recognition and who support the purposes of Celtic Women International, Ltd.

To establish an endowment fund for the benefit of the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center of Wisconsin, Inc. The goal will be to raise a total of one million dollars for the ICHC.

The First Friday Lecture Series wishes to thank County Clare, 1234 N. Astor Street. For providing gift certificates in support of the lecture series.


Autumn is Here

by Martain O'Flaherty

You can always tell autumn
By the return of the peat fire,
The sweet, yet pungent smoke
Swelling from the houses.

It's not too long
Since we stopped using coal
To chase away the chill
Of the fall's evening air.

In America, they burn wood
In the fireplace, I hear
That's a luxury not for the Irish
Where wood is still dear.

So, instead, we light this product
Of so many years in the bog.
A prehistoric scene, I suppose,
And prehistoric logs.

The Still of the Ocean's Roar

by Martain O'Flaherty

Stand by the strand
Watch the waves come in.
Notice the anger in their motion.
And be happy that it's not you they don't like.

The Connemara coastline
hemmed in by the Bens
Gives solace to all
Who seek to be alone.

The Ocean roars so loud
That it engenders silence
In its crashing, attacking action.
One doesn't hear another sound.

To be in Galway again,
To be home by its rough sea.
To hear the ocean roar once more
Not heaven, but close enough for me.

Welcome New Members

DANE COUNTY Mary Ann Farley.

MILWAUKEE Holly Lynn Pfieffer; James and Evelyn Shea; and, Michael Stiener (reclaim).

SOUTH CENTRAL Heather Jo Fish.

1998 St. Patrick's Day
Parade Tapes are now on sale.

See the Shamrock Club's 1998 Milwaukee Parade Professionally Done

$19.99 Per Tape

For information: call Tim O'Brien, (414) 444-1989

To Fax an Order: Shamrock Club 1998 Parade, (414) 345-8805

Order Via Mail: P.O. Box 08361; Milwaukee, WI 53208-08361