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Emerald Reflections Online

Table of Contents -- September 1999

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

My Trip to the Giant's Causeway

Dane County Shamrock Club

Rock County Shamrock Club

Shamrock Club of Greater LaCrosse

Milwaukee President's Message

Welcome New Members

Milwaukee Shamrock Club Picnic

Bradley Center Needs You

Bradley Center Sign-Up Form

Attention All Chapters

Jerry Holland to Play In Milwaukee and Racine

Half Way to St. Patrick's Day

Irish Fest -- More than a Four Day Festival

Donn's Poetry Corner

Gold Deposits in Co.Tyrone

Milwaukee Calendar of Events

My Trip to the Giant's Causeway


by Randy O'Flaherty

It has been more than a few years since I last visited Ireland. Almost a decade, actually. But, to this day, the memory of that trip is still sharply etched in my memory. We visited all the big tourist places, Dublin, Trinity College, Guinness, the Cliffs of Moher, the Waterford Crystal Company, and Shop Street in Galway. However, the place I wanted to see the most was the Giant's Causeway.

We spent the previous night in Letterkenny in Donegal. Then, getting an early start, which was rare for us, we headed over to Derry City. We took pictures in front of the fountain, and had British army troops wave to us as they drove by. Then, we drove over to Portrush, the small city on the northern coast. Maggie found some seashells in the cove. (We still have them in our collection at home.) Then, we motored down to Bushmills. Such a disappointment. The factory was closed for a few days. Some kind of servicing shutdown. No chance there to get some free samples.

As we continued down the highway, flanked by the North Atlantic on our left, we marveled at the beauty of the area. Suddenly, a structure came looming into view. It was Dunluce Castle. The wreck of the castle is administered by the British National Heritage Trust. Dunluce was the home of the MacDonalds, the Scottish clan of the western isles of Scotland. The MacDonalds had usurped power from the previous Irish tenants long before the transplanting of the lowlands Scots into the North of Ireland. In fact, one occupant of this seat of power was Sorley Boy MacDonnell, who was considered a royal pain to the English mon- archs, so much so they put a bounty on his head.

As we wandered throughout the castle, we noticed the decrepit nature of the structure. And then we found a sign which said that, oh, about twenty feet from where we were standing was the old kitchen, and that a score of people or so were killed when it collapsed into the ocean seventy-five feet below. Then we saw the other sign, the one that said that all responsibility in case of injury was on the tourist, not the government. Made the rest of the time there a little more interesting.

After a little more poking around the castle, we headed over to the Giant's Causeway. The Giant's Causeway is made up of basalt formations that resemble paving stones. Most are hexagonal. The stones extend into the sea for quite a ways. On the Scottish coast, about twenty-five of so miles away, there are similar formations. This similar setting ended up resulting in the story about the two giants and the road from one spot to the other.

If you don't know the mythological story about the Causeway, it is as follows. The ancient Irish giant Finn McCool would go over to visit a woman he knew in Scotland. When her previous suitor found out about Finn's interest in the woman, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He laid in wait for Finn, and when he saw him, he gave chase. Finn, being more of a lover than a fighter in this matter, ran as quickly as possible back to the Irish coastline, tearing up sections of the causeway in his wake to stop the advance of the other giant. That is why there is no direct road over to Scotland today.

The day we were there was blustery, windy, and a bit rainy. We took our chances on the rope bridge crossing the Causeway from above. That in and of itself turned out to be a real adventure. The wind was averaging 40 miles per hour, with gusts up to 65 mph. So the short journey of six or seven feet felt more like a lifetime.

While we were on top of the cliffs, we noticed helicopters flying around. At first we wondered why they were giving tour rides in that wind. But it turned out they were searching for two Scottish fishing vessels that had gone down a little ways away. The men flying those machines were very brave to fight that wind.

Maggie pointed to the north, where we could see Rathlin Island very clearly. Rathlin Island was where Marconi conducted his radio tests with the Irish mainland. It is about fifteen miles off of the coast of northern Ireland.

After a quick trip to the gift shop, we headed out again, towards Belfast, where we had booked a room for the night.

We completed our journey through Ireland in Dublin. Still, after all these years, it is the sights and smells of the north coast of Ireland that are the clearest in my memory.

Dane County


  • 14 – Board Meeting, 6:30 p.m. Jingles
  • 14 – Membership Meeting, 7 p.m. Jingles

The American Irish Singers from Mazomanie are going to perform for us at our September 14 membership meeting at Jingle's.

Over 30 people attended the July Picnic in air-conditioned comfort at the Knights of Columbus on Verona Road. We enjoyed many different dishes, conversed with other members, all while listening to Irish music on tape.

I hope everyone had the opportunity to visit Irish Fest this year! More on that event will follow in the next Reflections.

– Sheila O'Brien

Rock County


  • 21: General Membership Meeting. 7:30 p.m. at Janesville Senior Center, 69 S. Water Street

Our float was in the Twin Cities (Tiffany-Shoppire) Parade which is always on the Sunday before the Fourth of July. Fred and Kay McCann and Tom and Mary Kennedy participated in the parade along with the float and Dave Bickle came out to help set up the float. We received recognition in the parade and a thank you card in the mail for participating in their parade again this year. In the next Emerald Reflections we will give a report on our working at the Brat Stand at Wal-Mart in Beloit.

Let us have a good turnout at the September 21st meeting and show our support for our new officers. Write down any ideas you may have for fund raisers, programs or ways we can improve our organization.

– Tom Kennedy

Greater LaCrosse

Don’t forget our “Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Party” at Forest Hills in LaCrosse on September 17th. And the Applefest parade in LaCresent, Minnesota on September 25. We will also be involved in “Tap the Golden Can” opening ceremony and parade for Oktoberfest, Friday October 1.

‘Tis the parade season in LaCrosse, keep the faith.

– Fred Smith

Milwaukee President's Message

This first meeting of my presidency is behind us and it was long but the August meeting always is and Irish Fest is over for another year. Special thanks to Noreen Barclay who ran the sales booth and had a successful first year, and Mary McAndrews who did a great job of overseeing the membership area. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped make this a successful event for the Shamrock Club.

We welcome Joe Donovan back as our Mr. Sunshine. It will be very good to hear him open his report with "Good Evening." When and if a club member gets sick or when it's the will of God someone dies, please tell Joe about it. He will send cards or whatever else is appropriate. He can't do these things if he doesn't know that they are happening. His phone number is 259-8040.

If you are planning on moving or going on an extended vacation please notify Tom Smith at 384-4119 so that your Emerald Reflections is mailed to your new address or if on vacation not mailed. The last several months there have been too many Emerald Reflections returned. This cost mounts up and is really an unnecessary expense. We mail them out bulk mail which is less costly than first class but when they are returned they come back first class. Please help us to lower this cost.

Richard Stover did a great job organizing the Golf Outing which we attended on Aug. 29. The events were new and exciting. Thank you Richard!

The annual picnic will be held at Wisconsin Avenue Park on September 5 (10300 W. Wisconsin Ave.) We will be there from 1-6 p.m. Beer, wine, soda and snacks as well as hot dogs will be served. There will be games for the little people (children) as well as the big people (adults).

The Bradley Center final report for 1998-99: we worked 22 events and put $8,372.24 into the treasury as compared with 23 events and total earnings of $8,072.30 in 97-98. Volunteers who are on the list will be on the list until you call and ask to be removed. Our season generally starts in late September, early October. We will hope to see the new members sign up as well as the faithful on the list. There is another article in this issue of the Reflections that explains the duties, etc. If you would like to work less than a full schedule, we can still use your serivces. Call and we can talk about it. We also need subs when a regular can't make it.

After having done a fine job as our President for two years, Dale Brenon thought he could rest on his past record but instead has taken on the job of organizing the 40th birthday celebration which is on March 17, 2000. He is interested in your ideas and help.

As an extra fund raiser, we will be selling entertainment books. We can earn $8 per book. There are many new dealers advertising in this book this year. If you are not committed to your church, please buy it from us.

The Club Volunteer Party will be on December 4 at 7 p.m. at the ICHC in the upper hall. As usual there will be plenty of food, drink and no speeches.

The Shamrock Club also takes this opportunity to wish Gail Williamson and her future husband all the best things in life and a whole life time of happiness.

– Cate Harris

Welcome New Members

DANE COUNTY – Florence Folbrecht (referred by Eileen Heinricks); Rosalie King (referred by Eileen Heinricks).

GREATER LACROSSE – Richard and Mae Carlson (referred by Linda Pfaff); Hazel McGuire; Pat and Joanne Killeen; Kevin and Dorina Lukins.

MILWAUKEE – Patricia E. Burns; Paul and Diane Collins (referred by Dale Brenon); William, M.D. and Helen Curtis; Ron and Eileen Dimick; Bridget, Bill, Coleen and Nathan Jaskulski (referred by Tom Smith); Genevine McClintok; Joseph McMahon; Bridget O'Brien;

ROCK COUNTY – Lisa Carey; Joe and Mary Fox.


September 5, 1999

Wisconsin Avenue Park – 1 to 6 p.m.

103rd and West Wisconsin Avenue • Milwaukee

Beer, Wine, Soda, Hot Dogs and Snacks

Bring a Dish to Pass

Hurling Demonstration • Games • Hooley

Bradley Center Needs You

For the past 11 years the Milwaukee Shamrock Club has earned more than 77,000 working for the Bradley Center. This money has enabled the club to be a lot more visible and able to contribute to such events as the Culture Areas at Irish Fest and Holiday Folk Fair, St. Patrick's Church restoration and many other things. The Bradley Center offers us an opportunity to be a part of community service and at the same time let the public know who we are.

The duties at the Bradley Center are varied, sometimes we kind of stand around and visit and other times we work hard and fast, like at the quarter or half time of a Bucks game or other popular event. The job is really not hard or difficult when all the stations are covered by willing happy volunteers. The duties of the volunteers at an event include:

1st SHIFT: Come one hour before event and help set up the booth. We must count the beer cups, soda cups, hot dogs, etc. and set up the stations with candy. The cash chairman sees that all the drawers have money and keep counter people in change, etc.

2nd SHIFT: Come in at game time and start to work at their readied station. At the end of the event when the first shift leaves, they help count and pack up left over inventory and clean the booth for the next group.

Each event needs 18 people. Six are at the counter to take care of the customers. Two people in the kitchen keep the brats cooking, wrap them and put them into the warming ovens. Two people are needed for the nacho preparation and to place them in the warm ovens. Three people pour beer and three work on soda. One person works the popcorn machine and one person is in charge of cash. Cash person comes early and stays until the Bradley Center bank people come to pick it up. The stand manager comes early and stays late and tries to keep everything running smoothly. When you report into the booth you are generally given your choice of job.

Volunteers are assigned to teams and when possible so are car pools. We only get a limited number of parking passes. You will be sent a list of your team members and times and dates of your events. We usually are given about 20 events and if we can get three or more teams we each would work only six or less events. We need "on call alternates" who would be able to come in with a few days notice or maybe even hours notice in an emergency. This doesn't happen very often. The alternates are a very important part of every team.

The Bradley Center is really not a difficult fund raiser. We have no investment and work at an event that, when we have a fully staffed crew, we can watch for 15 minutes if we want to.

All interested in becoming managers, please call me. As of this printing, I don't know the dates of the training.

To be successful, we really need you and it's an enjoyable evening with nice people that you might not meet otherwise. Talk to the people who have been doing this for years, you will know them by the smiles on their faces. Please fill out the form below and mail it to me or give it to me at the September meeting.

– Cate Harris (321-5153)

Bradley Center Volunteer Sign-Up


Cate Harris • 8835 W. Verona Ct. • Milwaukee, WI 53227

 Yes, I will volunteer to work 6-7 events

 Yes, I can be an "on call" alternate

 Yes  No I have worked at the Bradley Center before.

Name Phone:........................................................



I would like to work with:.................................


Attention All Chapters

For some time there have been questions about a State Meeting. At this time, I am inviting any chapter that wants to host this event, please call me or write. Milwaukee Board Members will come to see you. Several years ago we hosted a meeting at Irish Fest and that was not acceptable to some groups. So just let us know when, where, and an agenda. We also would like to have a list of all officers names, addresses and phone numbers. A picture in the Emerald Reflections is great but doesn't let us know where to contact anyone but the membership chair. Let's do this soon.

– Cate Harris
8835 W. Verona Ct
Milwaukee, WI 53227

Jerry Holland to Play
In Milwaukee and Racine

The very exciting Jerry Holland & his band will be playing at 7:30 on Friday, September 17, at Memorial Hall in Racine and 7:30 Saturday night, September 18, at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center in Milwaukee. Jerry and his band will be periodically joined by championship step dancers from the. Cashel-Dennehy School of Irish Dance If you liked Riverdance, you'll love this concert.

Jerry is recognized as one of the world's best musicians and composers of Celtic music. Prominent musicians around the world play his tunes – Altan, Solas, De Danann, Nomos, Capercaillie, Aly Bain, Liz Carroll, Frankie Gavin, Stephane Grappelli, Alasdair Fraser, Ashley MacIsaac, Buddy MacMaster, Natalie MacMaster, Sharon Shannon, and many others. Many of these groups and musicians have headlined Milwaukee Irish Fest, playing Jerry Holland tunes. To date, Jerry is the featured artists on eight recordings, performs with others on an additional twenty-three, and has written a book of fiddle tunes. His most recent recording, Fiddler's Choice on the Odyssey Records label, has been released in Canada, is getting rave reviews, and soon will be released worldwide.

Jerry is from Cape Breton, an island off the northeast end of Nova Scotia. Cape Breton has more musicians per capita than any place in the world, and most of those musicians are fiddlers. Cape Bretoners also have their own style of step dancing and square dancing, fitting their energetic style of music. The roots of their music trace back more than two centuries to the Highlands of Scotland. Over time, Scottish fiddle music changed and traditional step dancing faded. But because Cape Breton was remote, its fiddle music and dancing kept to the old Scottish style, a tradition that Jerry Holland was raised to respect and support. In spite of Cape Breton's musical roots being in Scotland, much of this music has an Irish flavor to it. Maybe that's why so many Irish musicians around the world play Jerry's tunes.

These two concerts are being sponsored by The Parkview, a proposed affordable apartment community for independent seniors. The Parkview is expected to be completed later next year and will be located in Caledonia on Route 32, just north of Four Mile Road.

The Parkview is donating all net proceeds from the concert to the Cashel-Dennehy School of Irish Dance and the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA). Not only will you be supporting two worthwhile causes, you will be seeing and hearing great musicians and dancers.

Reserved seats for both concerts are modestly priced, $10 for children, students, or seniors; and $15 for adults, when purchased in advance. To get the best seats and save money, order your tickets soon. Tickets purchased at the door will cost an additional $3. For reserved seating at Racine's September 17 concert, call Racine's Festival Hall at 414-636-9229. For reserved seating at Milwaukee's September 18 concert, call the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center at (414) 345-8800.

Half Way To St. Patrick's Day

MILW – The ICHC will have a fund raiser on September 17 called Half Way to St. Patrick's Day. We will hold a raffle that evening and so are asking anyone who has some article to donate to please contact Tom Smith at 384-4119 or John Mahar at the ICHC at 345-8800. We would appreciate all donations. I would be more than happy to pick up any items donated.

Thank you! – Tom Smith


The Growth of a Cultural Organization That's More Than a Festival


What began as the seed of an idea for an event to celebrate Irish heritage, Irish Festivals Inc. has grown into a thriving organization that celebrates the music, culture and history of Ireland through multifaceted activities year-round.

In the early 1980s members of Milwaukee's Irish community came together to discuss ways to highlight their Gaelic heritage in a city known for its German roots. The idea of a festival was born – an opportunity to showcase Irish music, dance, drama, sports and culture, while providing a platform for up-and-coming local performers.

Under the direction of Ed Ward, the first Irish Fest premiered in 1981. Volunteers spent months planning the event, incorporating an extensive lineup of musical entertainment and cultural programming. The result was so impressive that the Smithsonian Institution's National Folk Life program called Milwaukee Irish Fest "the largest and best Irish cultural event in North America."


The interest in Irish music, culture and dance continued, and, in 1987 Irish Fest established a summer school program at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. A week-long event, the summer school program involves lectures, classes in Irish dance, Gaelic language instruction and a historical overview of the Irish heritage. Introductions to Irish music and instruments are also offered.


Driven by the year-round demands of running the world's largest Irish festival, Irish Fest hired a full-time executive director and opened its first office in 1992. However, the organization soon outgrew that space and in 1998 opened the Irish Fest Center. The center is also home to the John J. Ward Jr. Irish Music Archives, a collection of sound recordings and other music related items related to Irish and Irish-American music. Named after the father of Irish Fest founder, Ed Ward, the archives promote and preserve Irish music in all forms.


In early 1993, Irish Fest established the Irish Fest Foundation to support the organization's philanthropic efforts. Financed by a portion of the festival revenues, the Irish Fest Foundation makes grants to organizations and individuals to promote the development of community service, excellence in Irish music and drama, and to support the special needs of the Irish community in the U.S. and Ireland. The Irish Fest Foundation has distributed over $50,000 over the past four years to civic, cultural and educational groups.


Growing and changing each year, the festival includes new attractions, events and performers. In fact, Irish Fest has established its own entertainment groups, including the Irish Fest Choir, comprised of more than 40 young adults performing traditional Irish music and sing-alongs, as well as the Irish Fest Theater, a repertory company which performs Irish productions throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Known as a family-oriented festival, Irish Fest has something to offer everyone. In addition, the organization is a responsible community partner. The festival has developed an award-winning recycling program encouraging festival guests and vendors to keep Milwaukee's lakefront clean, one of the activities that earned them the title of "The Green Festival."

While Irish Fest only lasts four days each year, it makes a yearlong impression on its community. This innovative organization has succeeded in making not only the presence of Milwaukee's Irish community known, but that of the world as well.


William R. Burke wrote the following poem in memory of his grandfather, William Burke, who left Ireland about 1885, an "Irish Second Son," never to return.

Irish Second Son

One last time he looks back
Lichen-spotted walled stones guiding
Horse and trap down the rough way,
Road clatter his silent ache hiding.

One last time, from the Gort road, he waves
Toward home, over grazed field,
Son to mother, son to boyhood,
Green hills in mind's eye sealed.

Youth's belongs in round-lidded trunk
Cap, sweater, walking stick a farewell from friends.
On to Galway, the quay and on to sea,
On to America Erin her second son sends.

No time now to visit the old church near St. Peter's Well
Where once he held a warming hand.
No time now for young hope,
He carries his seed to a foreign land.

– William R. Burke

Gold Deposits in Co. Tyrone

There is ample recorded evidence that gold was plentiful in the O'Neill territory of yore.

In "Ireland's Natural History," published in London in 1652, Dr. Gerald Boates stated that:

"Out of a certain rivulet in the Co. of Nether Tyrone, called Miola, which rises in Slew Golen (Slieve Gallon?), and passes by the Village of Maharry before entering the N.W. corner of L. Neagh, I gathered about one dram of pure gold, thus convincing me that in the aforesaid mountains, rich goldmines lie hidden."

In more recent times a prospector named M.E. Heiser, having carefully enquired into this record, then studiously checked a previous estimate made by a G. V. S. Dunne, and was firmly convinced that at least 4,000 acres in an area covering nine square miles around the Mourne River Valley, contained gold in great quantities – certainly adequate to pay for the cost involved in recovering the noble metal. According to the same authority, there were 75,000 cubic yards of gold-bearing soil, with an average yield of 9½p per cubic yard, yielding a vast total in excess of £2,968,756. The Foyle Valley was also reckoned to contain a possible £19 million worth of gold.

More recently, archeaologists have come to the remarkable conclusion that the large flat amber beads (that could only have originated in the Baltic) and which were unearthed during "digs" in the Ballygawley area, along with precious porcelain cylindrical bottles (found north of Seskilgreen) and the 63 China Seals found elsewhere in Tyrone must have been brought into Ulster by Phoenician or Egyptian traders for use as barter in exchange for the ancient gold ornaments such as torques (twisted necklaces) gorgets and bracelets that Tyrone was famous for, all those thousands of years ago. These traders, it seems, had already been identified as those who used the same commercial acumen to obtain gold from Wicklow and tin from Cornwall.

– Gearód O Broin for Ireland's Own