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Emerald Reflections Online

Table of Contents -- February 1999

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

Greater Ireland in North America?

Milwaukee President's Message

Wanted: Celtic Craft People

Dane County

Greater LaCrosse Area

Mass to Honor St. Patrick

A Celtic Celebration

Poetry and A Most Notorious Woman

Welcome New Members

CWI to Host Art School and Craft Fair

Milwaukee Irish Arts to present The Country Boy

Beginning Set Dance Class

Shamrock Club sponsors Harp and Organ Concert

Malachy McCourt to Speak at Milwaukee Public Library

Gaelic League presents Brunch and Scoirloct

Benefit for the Brendan Heart Fund

A Very Short Gaelige Lesson

Two ICHC Concerts: Cherish and Ladies and Wolfe Tones

Schooner Fare Benefit Concert

Milwaukee Parade Day 1999

Donn's Poetry Corner

Milwaukee Calendar of Events

Greater Ireland in North America?

by Robert J. Higgins

It's that time of year when the Hibernian element in our midst proclaims that there's no greater place on earth than that "Little Bit of Heaven" officially known as Ireland.

But it wasn't so around 1,000 years ago when there was a Greater Ireland.

While the exact location of this super Emerald Isle is lost, it was, surprisingly, on our side of the Atlantic, as legend has it. But what little we know about Greater Ireland comes to us not from the Irish, but from those blond scalawags who sailed all over the north Atlantic, the Vikings.


Greater Ireland lore comes from the old Icelandic sagas, but only in tantalizing bits and pieces, Ireland the Great and Great Ireland are two variations of the name.

The modern theory behind this is that the Culdees, the wandering Irish monks of the latter part of the first millennium, may have sailed all the way across the Atlantic and established a colony of some sort. It is certain that the Culdees were in Iceland, in the north Atlantic, before the Norse settled there in the ninth century.

The Culdees, it seems, were always fleeing from the Vikings. First the blond warriors chased them out of Ireland itself. Then the monks went to the Faroes and other islands to the north, only to have the Vikings follow and send them on the move to Iceland.

When the Norse moved into Iceland the Culdees set sail again. In what we don't know, but an earlier exploring Irish monk, St. Brendan, traveled far, according to legend, in Irish skin boats called curraghs.

From Iceland the trail of the Culdees grows dim, but there's a theory that their next stop was Greenland, just off the coast of North America. This was supposedly 100 years or so before the Norse set up colonies in Greenland that were destined to endure for 500 years.

Among the ruins of ancient Norse homes excavated in Greenland at least one has been found that seems to be of a different style from the others. Was it built by the Irish?

When the Norse, under Eric the Red, settled southern Greenland in the late 10th century they reported that the land was uninhabited, but that someone had left relics, there, including skin boats. Were they Eskimo or Irish skin boats?

Where did the Culdees go from Greenland? Writers of books that include this subject have different theories. Farley Mowat, the Newfoundlander who wrote Westviking, thinks the Culdees finally headed back to Ireland when the Norse moved into Greenland.


Other writers, including Frederick J. Pohl, author of The Viking Explorers, and Charles M. Boland, who wrote They All Discovered America, think the Culdees kept going west and set up shop in America.

There is a reference to Greater Ireland in the old Icelandic Flateyjarbok. This gives an account of an expedition out of the Greenland colony about 1009 that was led by Leif Ericson's brother-in-law, Thorfinn Karlsefni.

This party made a stop at a place called Markland, which may have been Nova Scotia, although no one is sure. There, "five savages" were captured, including two boys.

The Norse took the boys back to Greenland and taught them their language. When they were able to speak to the whites, the boys, who were, presumably, American Indians, said that somewhere "back" of where they came from there was a place where the inhabitants wore white clothes, carried poles before them festooned with rags, and yelled loudly.

This meant, the Norse decided, that the Indian boys had seen Irish priests in white robes marching in religious processions and chanting, and that this must have been in "White Man's Land," also known as Greater Ireland.

The Icelandic Landnamabok pinpoints the location of Greater Ireland at least to its author's satisfaction. He told of a Norse sailor of 900 to 1,000 years ago named Ari Marson who drifted to Greater Ireland, where he was baptized. The Iceland scribe said this was a place near Vinland and six days sailing due west of Ireland (the original).

So where was Greater Ireland? Pohl feels that it must have been Newfoundland.

Boland locates it far south in New Hampshire on the site of the mysterious ruins called Pattee's Caves. No one is sure who built some odd stone structures at this spot near North Salem, but they do not appear to be of Indian origin.

Another writer, William B. Goodwin, also puts Greater Ireland at Pattee's Caves in his book, The Ruins of Great Ireland in New England.

Mowat says that Greater Ireland must have been in Greenland.

The question will probably never be settled, but it has definitely been established that the Vikings were here with the discovery of one of their 11th century settlement sites in Newfoundland.

Is there a 1,000 year old cache of petrified shamrocks and shillelaghs somewhere along our Atlantic coast just waiting to be dug up?


My apologies, but, again, I need to dedicate a portion of this column to requesting volunteers. As you all surely realize, Irish Week 1999 is rapidly approaching. Each and all of our special events surrounding St. Patrick's Day require the dedicated efforts of all of our special, selfless, and remarkably devoted workers. Please continue your proud traditions and step forward to sign-up and enjoy the festivities while working a brief shift to ensure continuity and quality.

Congratulations to our recently selected 1999 Honorees: Irish Rose, Irishman Of The Year, and Parade Marshal. Obviously, I cannot reveal the names here because you should be receiving this issue before the actual announcement and introductions. However, be sure to be with us at our meeting at the ICHC at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 4th and assist in welcoming them as they begin their year-long period of truly deserved recognition and honor.

Our March Issue of this magazine will contain a more detailed introduction, complete with pictures and short biographies. Then, at our March meeting, (7:00 p.m., Thursday, March 4th at the ICHC), these Honorees will be more-formally recognized and installed. They continue the early stages of their period in these special positions via places of honor within our Parade on Saturday, March 13th. Then, the formal portion of their introduction, recognition, and installation continues on St. Patrick's Day at our annual Gala.

Thanks to all who submitted nominations and to the Board of Director's for their efforts in maintaining our proud tradition of assuring recognition to VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE.

Dale Brenon

Crafts People Wanted:

Celtic craftspeople for St. Patrick's Day Program at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Spinners, weavers, lace makers, straw craft, or any other Irish craft. Call Muriel Crowley: 782-4323.

Dane County


  • FEB. 9 at Senior Center, 330 W. Mifflin Street. 6:15 p.m. Board Meeting. 7:30 p.m. Membership Meeting.
  • MAR. 17 The Flag-Raising Ceremony will be held at the Capitol (2nd Floor) at Noon.
  • MAR. 17 St. Patrick's Day Dinner will be held at the new Holiday Inn (formerly Ramada Inn) 3841 East Washington Ave., at 6:30 p.m.

At our February meeting the Madison Trinity Dancers will honor Ginny O'Brien for keeping Irish Dancing alive in Dane County for over the past twenty years. Our President, Barbara Darcey, would like to hear from former members of Ginny's dance group. Please call her at 837-3095. We hope to see a lot of you there for a very interesting program.

A special notice will be sent to all members regarding the St. Patrick's Day Dinner. Mary Hearn will be accepting reservations for the dinner. If you have any questions she may be reached at 274-4369.

Margaret Courtney

Greater LaCrosse

Our schedule of activities is beginning to fill out for the first part of the New Year at any rate. Our annual "Everything Irish" show will be held on Sunday, February 7 at the UW-LaCrosse Recital Hall. Some great Irish musical entertainment is planned.

The St. Patrick's Day Banquet will be held at the Forrest Hills Country Club in LaCrosse on Saturday March 13. There will be good food; prizes; and surprises!

We will make our pilgrimage of city schools and nursing homes on Wednesday March 17.

If you want to think spring, our next General Meeting will be held on Thursday, April 8.

Club members will receive details of these and other events in our own Bit O'Blarney newsletter.

Keep Warm,
Fred Smith

14th Annual Special Mass to Honor


Will be held prior to the St. Patrick's Day Parade

Saturday, March 13, 1999 at 8:30 a.m.

At St. Patrick's Church
723 South 7th at Washington Street, Milwaukee
Sign reader for hearing impaired

Shuttle Bus: from Wauwatosa Civic Center parking lot --
76th and North Ave.
To St. Patrick's Church, Back to the Parade Route.
For Just $3

Bus To Leave Sharply at 7:45 a.m. for the Church


(all proceeds going to St. Patrick's Church)

For reservations or information contact:
Chuck and Bonnie McLaughlin
12007 W. Walker St., West Allis, WI 53214;
Phone 414-771-0458

(Send self-addressed, stamped envelope.
Make checks payable to Shamrock Club)


_______ Breakfast ................. _______ Shuttle Bus


City/State/Zip_____________ Phone____________

Number of Reservations:_____________________

Amount $ __________________________________

Failte Romhat

a hundred thousand welcomes

to our grand

St. Patrick's Day Gala

Tuesday, March 17th, 1999



Milwaukee Irish Arts and the

Shamrock Club of Wisconsin

invite you to an evening of

story, song, music and laughter

Guests of Honor:

Irish Rose, Irishman of the Year

and Parade Marshal

Featuring seasonal entertainment

by Pull Up to the Fire

and Milwaukee Irish Arts.

Reservations Required: $30 per person [Cash Bar]

Free Parking available -- Enter on 10th Street

Wisconsin Club -- 900 W. Wisconsin Avenue

5:30 p.m.: Cocktails

7:00 p.m.: Gaelic Gourmet Dinner

8:00 p.m.: Tributes to our honored guests.

8:30 p.m.: A Celtic Celebration with Pull Up to the Fire

and Milwaukee Irish Arts

-- -- -- -- -- - -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --




NUMBER OF RESERVATIONS____________________


Information/mail to: Pat Sadowski -- 527-2934
8804 W. Capitol Dr., #3. Milwaukee, WI 53222
Make checks payable to Milwaukee Irish Arts
Please include the names of each member of your party.

Poetry and A Most Notorious Woman

Friday, February 5 promises to be a night for Celtic women and Celtic men, as a double-feature is offered to all who attend the evening's performances that night at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center. At 5:30 p.m., Nancy Walczak, Ph.D. presents her lecture titled "Poetry of Celtic Women," part of the First Friday lecture series sponsored by the Celtic Women International. Following at 8 p.m. is the one-woman show "A Most Notorious Woman," written and performed by Maggie Cronin of Ireland.

The play about Grace O'Malley is co-sponsored by Celtic Women International and Milwaukee Irish Arts. Admission is $5 for the poetry lecture and $10 for the play. Persons who wish to attend both performances may take advantage of a package price payable at the earlier poetry session of only $10. Admission is payable at the door. Tea will be served at the 5:30 lecture which concludes at 7 p.m. For questions call 257-3770.

New Members

MILWAUKEE Daniel and Cheryl Boehmke (referred by Glen Yarbrough concert); Renee and Dorothy Corya (referred by Mary McAndrews); Robert and Eleanor Doyle; Kathy Farrell (reclaim first woman President, Milwaukee; welcome back) Jim and Pat O'Donoghue (referred by Dale Brenon); Phyllis Parath.




April 6-9, 1999, ICHC

Join Celtic Women International as we embark on another new project which will bring Celtic Art, Artists and Craftspersons to the attention of the Milwaukee Celtic community. On April 6-9, the first Art School and Craft Fair will be showcased at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center. The prestigious class instructors will be Celtic Artists Patrick Gallagher and Cindy Matyi. Patrick is well known to Milwaukee area artists as a teacher and lecturer; he last appeared here at the Celtic Women's Conference in October. Cindy is the fabulous creator of the oil paintings gracing the ICHC walls since last September. Enroll now as the class space will be limited to 20 participants each.

  • Class #1: Experiencing Celtic Studio Art. Tu & Th 7:30-10 p.m Patrick Gallagher. No experience needed.
  • Class #2: Duplicate of #1; We & Fri 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
  • Class #3: Advanced Celtic Studio Art; Wed 7:30-10 p.m. Patrick Gallagher. Experience required.
  • Class #4: Overview of Celtic Art History; Th 2-4:30 p.m. Cindy Matyi. Attendance not limited
  • Class #5: Children's Celtic Art; Th 9-9:40 a.m. Cindy Matyi and Patrick Gallagher
  • Class #6: Duplicate of #5; Fr. 9-9:40 a.m.
  • Lecture #7: Personal Reflections of a Celtic Artist. Cindy Matyi. Fri. 5:30-7 p.m. ($5) Part of the First Friday Lecture Series sponsored by Celtic Women International

Each Adult class will be 2½ hours in length

Fees: $45 / Lecture: $5

Send your check payable to


P.O. Box 1384, Milwaukee, WI 53201

Include your name, address and telephone number.

The registration will be acknowledged.

CWI is a 501(c)3 organization,

which benefits the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center.

The Country Boy

Milwaukee Irish Arts will present John Murphy's The Country Boy at the ICHC Feb. 26, 27, 28 and March 5, 6, and 7.

The play will be presented again May 14 and 15 at Cardinal Stritch University prior to participation in the International Acting Irish Festival at Gaelic Park in Chicago.

Friday and Saturday night performances will be at 8 p.m. The Sunday matinee will begin at 2 p.m.

The cast includes Eamonn O'Neill, Kevin Callahan, Garbon Blake, Amy Flynn, Honore Dugan Schiro and Molly Matthews.

Milwaukee Irish Arts is bringing from Dublin the veteran Irish actor/director Jimmy McClatchie to direct the production which examines the complex relationship between Ireland and Irish America in the 1950s.

Beginning Set Dance Class

In February, plan to attend an introductory series of set dance workshops on Sunday afternoons from 2-4 p.m. at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center. We hope this timing will catch a lot of people on the rebound from the football season and give them a chance to get in the (literal) swing before the St. Patrick's Day season arrives. If you have friends who you think might be interested, please pass along this info. It's not necessary to come with a partner, but smooth-soled shoes are very important. Advance registration (which we strongly recommend) is $15, registration at the door on Feb. 7 will be $20.

Shamrock Club Sponsors
Harp and Organ Concert

February 14, 1999 at ICHC

The Shamrock Club Milwaukee Chapter will be sponsoring a Harp and Organ Concert on Sunday, Feb. 14, at 2 p.m. The show will feature Celtic music to celebrate the romanticism of Valentine's Day. Dennis Janzer will be performing at the organ, and Milwaukee harpist Jeanne Henderson will be playing the harp. The concert is a part of the International Arts Festival. The cost of the show is $5.

Malachy McCourt
To Speak at Milw. Library

Sponsored by Irish Fest Foundation

Irish actor and author Malachy McCourt will be speaking at the Milwaukee Public Library's Centennial Hall, Sunday, Feb. 14, 1999 at 1 p.m. The show is sponsored by the Friends of the Library and the Milwaukee Irish Fest Foundation. Malachy McCourt first made his name in the United States as an actor. His frequent appearances on the Tonight Show cemented his credentials as a true character. He has appeared on stage, in television, and in movies during his career. He will be speaking about his new autobiography, Laughing at Myself. McCourt is the brother of Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes.


Gaelic brunch and scoirloct Irish language drama, song and story (with translation), featuring Craobh Curtin, Ard Mhaco and Aisteoiri Elle. Sponsored by Condradh na Gaeilge. Featured story will be the Wizard of Oz in Irish. Marquette High School. Sunday, Feb. 21, 1999 at 11:30 a.m. Call (414) 475-5166.

Benefit for the Brendan Heart Fund

On March 7, 1999, between the hours of 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., the Emerald Society of Wisconsin will be presenting the Irish folk group, Blarney, and the Cashel-Dennehy Dancers. This afternoon of Irish song and dance will be held at Derry Hegarty's Irish Pub, 5328 W. Bluemound Rd. The cost of the afternoon's festivities is $5 for advance tickets and $6 at the door.

The afternoon's entertainment is designed for and presented with the family in mind, so come to Derry's and enjoy this fine afternoon of singing and dancing with Blarney and the Cashel Dennehy Dancers.

Proceeds from the afternoon's festivities will be donated to the Brendan Heart Fund at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

Tickets can be obtained at the following Irish establishments: Derry's Irish Pub, 5328 W. Bluemound Ave. or Tralee Imports, 17700 W. Capitol Dr., Brookfield (east end of Stonewood Village).

Thomas W. McKale

A Very Short Gaelige Lesson

Gaeilge/Irish [Pronunciation]... English

Dia duit! [dee-ah dit]... Good day.

Dia's Muire duit. (reply) [dee-as mirra dit]... Good day.

Conas atá tú? [cun-as atah to]... How are you?

Cad é mar atá tú? [cad ay mar atah to]... How are you?

Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú? [cane quee awill to]... How are you?

Tá mé go maith. [tah may go mah]... I am good/well.

Tá mé go hiontach [tah may go hinntock]... I am wonderful/great.

Tá mé go dona [tah may go donna]... I'm bad/not good.

Cad is ainm duit? [cad iss anam dit]... What is your name?

Is mis Sinéad [iss misha shin-ade]... I am Sinead.

Cherish the Ladies and
Wolfe Tonesat ICHC

The all woman traditional band Cherish the Ladies will be in concert at the ICHC on Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. Cherish the Ladies is led by flute player Joanie Madden. They are a favorite of Milwaukee audiences.

Wolfe Tones will make their ICHC debut on Sat. Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. Longtime exponents of rebel songs and Irish music, this is a show not to be missed.

Both shows are $15 advance, $20 at the door. Call 414-345-8800.

Schooner Fare

Maine's Schooner Fare, one of folk music's premier groups, will return to Milwaukee on April 24 to benefit La Causa Crisis Nursery. Reserved seats for the 8 p.m. concert at Alverno College's Pitman Theater are $18, $16 and $14 for adults and $8 for ages 18 and younger.

The group plans to have their 12th album, a live recording with folk performers including Tommy Makem and Tom Paxton, ready in time for the Milwaukee concert.

Eight previous Schooner Fare concerts have raised more than $33,000 for abused and neglected children. This is the sixth concert for the Crisis Nursery, which provides a safe haven for children during a family emergency.

For tickets and further information, call Kathy Schultz at 414-332-8521.

Milwaukee Parade Day 1999

The Milwaukee chapter of the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin will again be holding its annual St. Patrick's Celebrations in 1999 on March 13. These include our annual Mass in honor of St. Patrick, the 34th annual St. Patrick's Parade, and the Post Parade Party at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center.

The Mass will take place at St. Patrick's Church, 7th and Washington, at 8:30 a.m. It will be followed by a pancake breakfast at the United Community Center, 9th and Washington. Proceeds from the Mass and the breakfast will go to St. Patrick's Parish.

Our 34th annual St. Patrick's Parade will take place at noon, running from 53 and North in Milwaukee to 74 and North in Wauwatosa. The parade promises to be one of the largest yet in our history.

Following the parade will be the Post Parade Party, at the ICHC. It will run from 1-6 p.m. Entertainers for the 1999 edition include Blarney; Leahy's Luck; Frogwater; Great Outdoors; Anam Ri; Trinity Irish Dancers; Cashel Dennehy Irish Dancers, and more.

For more information on these various events contact: Mass and breakfast Chuck or Bonnie McLaughlin (414) 771-0458; Parade -- Tim O'Brien (414) 444-1989; Post Parade Party Party Coordinator Karen Ryan (414) 744-9524.

Donn's Poetry Corner

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

by W.B. Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the payments gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.