Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Emerald Reflections Online

Table of Contents -- October 1999

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

St. Patrick Parish -- Town of Erin

Attention All Chapters

Milwaukee President's Message

Shamrock Club of Rock County

Shamrock Club of Greater LaCrosse

Welcome New Members

Bosnia Relief

Tom Sweeney Concert -- ICHC in November

Four Weeks of Irish Set Dance Classes

Carmel Quinn to Perform at ICHC

O'Deas from Around the World Gather in Ireland

Noted Irish Soprano at ICHC

Study in Ireland

Milwaukee Irish Arts Play Readings

Recipes of Irish Foods

Milwaukee Calendar of Events

St. Patrick Parish -- Town of Erin

by Barry Stapleton

Town of Erin, Wisconsin. This is home to many of the Shamrock Club members' ancestors. On a steep rolling hill which overlooks the valley below and gives a clear shot of Holy Hill to the east, lie five generations of my father's family. It is a place I cherish.

There are many descendants of the first settlers still living here. Many more have come and the farms are quickly becoming new subdivisions, but it's still Erin and no man will ever completely tame the hills, tamarack swamps or kettles. Its natural setting and beauty are its largest assets.

Michael Lynch is responsible for making it into one of Wisconsin's largest Irish settlements. He was a land agent who, they say, had a mouth big enough for two sets of teeth. He did his job and Erin's land was all sold in about a year. The farms were made on some of the worst land in the county, but yet they stayed. It was their home and they loved it. Rural, land with character, and far enough away from the rest of the world that you didn't hear all the nonsense happening in the big cities. They made their own news and built their own community.

Today people move to Erin for many of the same reasons. To raise their children in an environment where everyone matters. In a community where everyone helps out. In a town that, comparatively speaking, is still rural. The people that live in Erin today appreciate their community as much as the original settlers, however different they may be.

These new tenants are even willing to pay higher taxes than in other communities to live there. The lack of industry and the DNR ownership of land leave the majority of the tax burden to the homeowners.

Erin offers some of the best scenery in southeastern Wisconsin. Every October it is a destination point for thousands seeking the changing of colors on the foliage. Erin is also home to one of the most notable churches in Wisconsin, Holy Hill. Yet anyone who has been with me on a tour of Erin knows that another church must be visited as well, that church being St. Patrick.

St. Patrick's church stands on high ground in a little hamlet called Thompson. It is on the north side of the Town of Erin along Hwy. 83. The church is white with black trim and the simple words above the door say "St. Patrick 1855". One of the oldest existing churches in the State of Wisconsin. Across the street is the cemetery where so many stories are told. It's a hard place for an Irishman not to feel at home!

St. Patrick's church has been a central part of life in Erin for 144 years. On June 13 of this year St. Patrick's church celebrated its last mass. The Milwaukee Archdiocese merged St. Patrick Parish with St. Kilian's in Hartford. St. Patrick's church will only be used as a chapel for occasional ceremonies and the cemetery will be maintained.

The Archdiocese has been working on many mergers within the last decade. The main reason for this is a shortage of priests and "to effectively manage church resources."

Many people from St. Patrick Parish have tried to reverse this decision and after the church closed its doors they became the "Save St. Patrick" group that meets every Tuesday at Erin Town Hall.

The group has a growing number of backers and has made headlines in all of the local newspapers and also the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

While anyone with an eye to business can understand what the Catholic Church was trying to do, this particular case is perplexing.

St. Patrick Parish was experiencing one of its most successful periods in its history. Consider these three items.

Its membership had steadily increased to where their two Sunday masses were at 95% capacity. This was quoted from their parish priest, Father Vogel, in a letter to the Archdiocese. The number of households attending St. Patrick had jumped from 41 in 1971 to 186 in 1999.

Secondly, the parish had just finished renovating the church. The church was damaged by soot and a lot of work needed to be done. With insurance money and memorials from parishioners they updated the wiring, lighting and heating along with a recent paint job. St. Patrick's church was and is in the best physical condition it has known in decades, if not the whole of this century!

Thirdly, the parish was experiencing financial success. In the 1997-98 financial report the parish showed a total income over expenses of $23,731.81. Their 1998-99 financial report shows their checking, savings and certificates of deposit at a total cash value of $104,391.64. Truly remarkable considering the number of parishioners and the renovations they had just completed.

When Father Vogel wrote to the Archdiocese he asked that the parish not be merged at this time so that "the people can enjoy the fruits of their sacrifices, waiting and longing." He also asked to continue serving as parish administrator and priest to St. Mary's in Richfield and St. Patrick in Erin until his mandatory retirement in 2006. This was denied.

"Save St. Patrick" has come up with other alternatives for the priest shortage. They took a look at what the Madison Diocese did by employing priests from other countries, and they also have studied the success of Archdiocese of Omaha and the Lincoln, Nebraska Diocese.

Another issue which developed was regarding which parish St. Patrick would be merged with. Originally, they were to be merged with a group of five county parishes which would have made sense, but in the end they were merged with a city parish which was much too progressive for them.

The "Save St. Patrick" group has done their homework and also hired a lawyer. They have tried to meet with Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland in hopes of having some of their questions answered but no meeting has yet to be granted.

Even the Rev. Larry Westfield of St. Olaf's Lutheran Church in nearby Alderly wrote the Milwaukee Archdiocese stating that "St. Patrick's church has been a vital center for the entire Christian Community, not just the Catholic Community. We do many ecumenical services together, and this is going to leave a terrible void in the community."

For more information on the "Save St. Patrick" group, please call Maureen J. FitzsimmonsVanden Heuvel at (414) 670-0975. A web site has also been established at

Attention All Chapters

We received two responses to our appeal for a State Meeting and one list of all officers' names and addresses. We would really like to hear from five (5) more chapters in regards to a time and agenda, also names, addresses, and phone numbers of officers. Then I can call you!

- Cate Harris
(414) 321-5153
8835 W. Verona Ct.
Milwaukee, WI 53227

Milwaukee President's Message

The heat and humidity of summer are over and we settle into the fall season and its events.

This is a follow up on the Golf Outing. It was held on Sunday, August 29 and was a big success. It was attended by 90 diners and 60 golfers. It was a best ball game and certainly gave our once a year golfers a chance to come out and do their thing. There were many door prize winners as well as individual accomplishments. All winners were very happy. Richard Stover is to be congratulated on making this event a huge success as well as putting more than $600 into the Shamrock Club treasury.

The picnic was September 5 and attendance was up. Joe Hughes and some of his hurling team were there and put on a demonstration in the hot sun for the picnickers that walked down to the field. They promise more excitement next year.

The response to the Bradley Center request for volunteers has been good. We need more of you to come and help us.

Folk Fair will be at State Fair Park and as of now, all the exhibits, food booths and entertainment will be indoors and warm. Please sign up to work Food Booth by calling Pete and Fran Dundon (414) 242-8245; Noreen Barclay 695-8563 in Sales; and Mary McAndrews 276-8779. They thank you for your help. Don't forget to buy your entertainment book. It's really a savings if you use it only twice to treat yourself and spouse/guest to dinner.

- Cate Harris

Rock County


  • 19 - Membership Meeting at the Janesville Senior Center, 69 S. Water St., 7:30 p.m.

In August our picnic was held inside at the Senior Center so the picnic beetles and mosquitoes were not a problem. Thirty six people came to our picnic, as always the food was great and everyone had a good time. Patrick and Gertrude Walsh from Wexford, Ireland were guests of Tom and Mary Kennedy at that time and came to the picnic. They had the opportunity to visit with some of the club members who had hosted the Walsh Irish Dancers when they were here in Rock County in 1985 and again in 1989. Mary McBride was at the picnic and shared a little of her wit and wisdom with our club.

On August 29 our club members worked in the "Brat Stand" at Wal-Mart in Beloit as a fund raising project for our club. Kay Mackey was the chairperson and the volunteers were Mary and Dave Bickle, Marjorie Reed, Mary E. Sergent, Mary Lowrie, Betty Ewers, Fred McCann, Rosie and Mike Hughes, Ken Flanagan, Mary and Tom Kennedy and Jim Mackey. For more information about the "Brat Stand" (we don't have a web site) come to the next meeting to hear what a very enjoyable and successful day we had.

Come to the meeting Oct. 19 and help us make plans for our Christmas Party. We are looking forward to your ideas and suggestions for that party and for club activities for the coming year.

- Tom Kennedy

Greater LaCrosse

We have recently been involved in traditional LaCrosse activities such as Opening the Golden Beer Can; Tapping the Golden Beer Keg; Floating in the Mapleleaf Parade; Selling Irish Stew at Heritage Night; and appearing in the Torchlight Parade. Yes people, it was Oktoberfest in LaCrosse!

We will now settle down for a few months with a Board Meeting on November 10, participation in the Festival of Lights after Thanksgiving; and our big, end of the year Christmas Party on December 10. Our Club has no contingency plan for Y2K.

-- Fred Smith

Welcome New Members

DANE COUNTY -- Don Casgrove.

MILWAUKEE -- Ms. Jane C. Podemski; James and Helen LeClaire; Barbara King and Timothy Wood; W. Brennan; Hal Butler; Bella Horn; Dave and Kathy Powers; Christopher P. Brody; Kathleen Jasinski; Maureen McGinley Donowski; Tom, Kathleen, Brian, Stephen Maeve Smith; Mark Laughran.

Bosnia Relief

The Shamrock Club's first Irish Rose, Jeanne McCue, has made another trip to Bosnia to aid refugees and the following is her own account. Jeanne is a registered nurse. She can be reached at: (414) 962-2841.

Once again it is my pleasure to update you on my 17th mission to Bosnia and extend the gratitude of all who benefit from your generosity and caring.

A trip planned for May, was delayed until July due to the temporary closure of the Sarajevo Airport during the conflict in Kosovo. Our medical and refugee supplies arrived by air soon after it opened and I distributed them to refugees, orphans, hospitals and the NJEGA Home Hospice program.

NJEGA is the first home hospice of its kind in Bosnia for cancer patients (many who are refugees) in and around Sarajevo. We are the first benefactors of this new project started by two sisters from Ireland this year, who have the full cooperation of the city officials and Sarajevo Medical Center. There is a high incidence of cancer in refugee patients who have been unable to obtain medical care during the war. Srs. Anne and Rosaleen have asked me to thank you for your help which enables them to provide medical services and palliative care to relieve the pain and suffering of their terminally ill patients.

The POTUVICI refugee camp is one of 19 located about 25 miles from Sarajevo. Most camps have 300-400 refugees, many are elderly and most are women and children living in crude barracks without bathrooms or adequate water supplies. It was here that we distributed school supplies, hygiene packs filled with toy surprises and shirts (hand painted by Pewaukee Girl Scouts) to the grateful children of the camp. Their smiles and hugs were my reward.

From the bottom of my heart I thank all of you for organizing school and church drives, for dropping supplies at my door and office, for sending them UPS from many states and for your generous donations which cover air cargo costs. Your compassionate giving and prayerful support is deeply appreciated. My next mission is planned for late Octber. God Bless You All!

-- Jeane McCue

Tom Sweeney Concert --
ICHC in November

For nearly 25 years Tom Sweeney has traveled the highways and byways of Ireland, Europe and North America with his seemingly endless rattlebag of songs, stories, poetry and tunes. Club members will know him from Barley Bree.

His one-man show is replete with the very essence of Irish culture which comes as no surprise when you consider that he has been immersed in the great tradition of ballad singing since he could speak. Tom's maternal grandmother, Sarah Makem, is generally considered to be one of the greatest sources of songs in the history of Irish music and as a boy he learned many of them around his granny's kitchen in County Armagh. From her he also inherited a deep love of and respect for the old stories, poems and turns of phrase that are such an integral part of any folk culture. This, in turn, led him to the study and examination of many aspects of Irish folklore, a passion that has lasted all his life and that continues to be a labor of love.

Having played every state in the US and every province and territory in Canada for many years, Tom was honored in 1998 to receive a personal invitation from President Clinton and the First Lady to perform his classic peace song "Anthem for the Children" at the White House on St. Patrick's night. This was a short time before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in Ireland and all those engaged in the talks were at the performance.

An evening with Tom is simply superb so give yourself a treat and experience what many people across miles and miles of music have known for a long time  that Tom Sweeney is the real thing and it doesn't get any better than this!

Mark your calendar now for an unforgettable evening at the ICHC on Saturday November 13, at 8 p.m. The concert is sponsored by Milwaukee Irish Arts and tickets cost $12 in advance and $15 at the door. For reservations call 345-8800.

- John Gleeson

Four Weeks of Irish Set Dance Classes

If you would like to get acquainted with traditional Irish set dancing, a series of classes will begin on Tuesday, October 5, at the Irish Fest Center, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. The Irish Fest Center is located at 1532 Wauwatosa Ave. Parking is available in the St. Bernard's Church lot, just south of the Center.

If you have never danced a set or feel you need to start with the basics or a refresher on the basics, you will find this class very helpful.

Irish set dancing continues to be a most popular adult social activity in Ireland. Since its revival in the 1980s, set dancing has become a worldwide phenomonon, and an expression of a great cultural tradition. Sets are usually danced by squares of four couples to traditional Irish dance music, including reels, jigs and hornpipes. The style which will be taught is lively but easier to dance and distinctly different than the solo step dancing made famous because of the dance schools and shows like Riverdance.

The class will emphasize basic movements and steps. Over the four weeks, two complete sets will be taught and danced, giving all participants a solid foundation for participation in local set dances or for dancing at major festivals or on your next visit to Ireland.

It's not necessary to come with a partner, but smooth-soled shoes are very important. Advance registration is recommended. The fee for all four classes is $12.00; registration at the door on October 5 will be $15. Please make checks payable to, and mail to, Kathie or Jim Vint, 8205 Jackson Park Blvd., Wauwatosa, Wisconsin 53213. For more information, please call 414 258-3370.

Carmel Quinn To Perform at ICHC

The captivating Carmel Quinn will appear for one performance only at The Irish Cultural & Heritage Center of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. The performance, scheduled for Sunday, October 17 at 2 p.m., will benefit the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups' Intergenerational Center - a facility designed to bring people of all ages together through public policy research and intergenerational programs. Dancers from the Cashel-Dennehy School of Irish Dance will also perform.

Carmel Quinn has delighted audiences since her days with The Arthur Godfrey Show in the 1950s. Whether singing or telling wonderfully outrageous anecdotes, she immediately has an audience in the palm of her hand.

After graduating from the Godfrey Show, Quinn became a popular guest on television talk shows. Viewers of the early Today Show, The Tonight Show, The Dick Cavett Show, The Merv Griffin Show, and Live with Regis and Kathy Lee fell in love with her charm and talent time and time again. She's the only artist to have appeared at New York's Carnegie Hall for 25 consecutive years and has recorded a dozen albums including a children's album entitled, "Patrick Muldoon and His Magic Balloon," which earned a Grammy nomination.

Tickets for the Carmel Quinn performance are $16 in advance, $18 at the door and can be purchased at the Irish and Cultural Heritage Center, 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53233, (414) 345-8800; or by contacting the CWAG at 1-800-366-2990.

O'Deas From Around the World
Gather in Ireland


Upwards of 300 people from all over the world, with O'Dea blood coursing through their veins, gathered in the ancestral home of Dysert O'Dea Castle recently to celebrate the fourth international clan gathering. O'Das, O'Days, O'Dees and O'Dies came from all over the world to elect Bill O'Day of Wisconsin Rapids as the clan's chieiftain.

The majority of the clan traveled from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and England for the weekend gathering in County Clare, Ireland July 9-12, 1999. They were joined by others much closer to home.

The overseas groups generally plan a two week holiday around the event which provides a huge spin-off for the local economy, not just Ennis, but the surrounding areas. Hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, pubs, craft shops and visitor attractions all reap the benefits of the O'Dea Clan Gathering.

The offical launch of the clan gathering at the Templegate Hotel was performed by Arts and Heritage Minister, Sile de Valera. The reception was followed by a lecture on the O'Dea Clan by Barefield native, Pat Nugent who is attached to the Geography Department at UCC.

The lecture was proceeded by traditional music and song by a group of musicians from the parish of Dysert O'Dea under the leadership of Frank Custy.

The program for the second day began with a visit to Dysert O'Dea Castle where participants enjoyed an Irish coffee and a smoked salmon reception.

Then it was to more serious things such as a guided tour of the Castle and other historic sites in the immediate locality including the O'Dea tomb, Dysert O'Dea church with its unique Romanesque doorway, the Round Tower and the 12th century High Cross known locally as "St. Tola's Cross."

The afternoon's itinerary featured an informal singing session in O'Dea's pub in O'Connell Street, Ennis followed by a series of thirty minute talks on various aspects of O'Dea genealogy and folklore. This was followed by the election of the new Tanaiste, the Chieftain elect.

Sunday's program kicked off with the O'Dea Clan mass at St. Flannan's College while in the afternoon participants headed off on a guided coach tour of West Clare which included areas where O'Deas settled from the 17th to 19th century.

The grand finale was a mediaeval banquet at Bunratty Castle where O'Deas from all over the globe gathered. Others enjoyed a round of golf at Ennis before going their separate ways.

The O'Dea Clan Association also has a clan website http://homepage.tinet.ic/~odea clan facilitated by Kate O'Day of Berkely, California. Email:

Noted Irish Soprano at ICHC

Catherine Hegarty from Ennistymon, County Clare, is a brilliant young singer making a big name for herself on the London stage. Winner of two All-Ireland titles in traditional singing and the Arts Council O Ireland Award for advanced singing '97-'99, Catherine has one of those gifted voices that come along only once or twice in every generation.

In association with Milwaukee Irish Arts she will be giving a concert at the ICHC on Sunday, October 3rd at 2 p.m. as part of the ongoing "Arts on the Avenue" series. Her performance will be a magical blend of Irish traditional songs and classical gems. For this ICHC concert she has added some of the delightful songs of Thomas Moore and Vincent O'Brien (John McCormack's first teacher) to the program. She will be accompanied by Dennis Jenzen.

Catherine Hegarty comes to us directly from her critically acclaimed performance in the title role of Penelope by Faure at Covent Garden Opera House in London. The Times described her singing as "stunning, steady and tireless," the Guardian gave her five stars and added, "Don't miss it!"

This is a rare opportunity to experience the magnificent singing of a fine young Irish singer. Make sure you don't mmiss it! Tickets $5 at the door. For information call the ICHC at 345-8800.

- John Gleeson

Study in Ireland

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's popular Colmcille Semester program is accepting applicants for Spring 2000. Students can earn up to 17 credits, including internships, while studying in Dublin, Derry and Donegal. Course work emphasizes Gaelic language and culture, Peace and Conflict Studies, folklore, archaeology and media studies. Included also are visits to historic sites, cultural and political institutions, theatre, etc.

Brochure and application materials may be requested by calling : UWM Overseas Programs at (414) 229-5182 or 1-(800) 991-5564.

Milwaukee Irish Arts Play Readings

Milwaukee Irish Arts will be offering a series of play readings over the next few months. These will take place on the second Sunday of the month at 2 p.m. in Parlor C (October 10). The idea is to introduce new members to the group, find a suitable play for our spring production schedule which will include Acting Irish 2000 in Toronto in May, and have some convivial Sunday afternoons at the ICHC. All are welcome and scripts and light refreshments will be provided.

Recipes for Irish Foods



  • 1 pound cooking apples
  • 2 pounds potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 ounces butter

Peel potatoes. Cook in salted, boiling water. Meanwhile peel, core and slice apples. Place in a pot with a tablespoon of water and the sugar. Cook until soft. When the potatoes are cooked, drain and mash thoroughly. Beat in the apples and butter. This mash goes particularly well with bacon, or fried herring. Serves 4.


This is the drink that your mother gives you at night when you have a cold or flu. Great for sore throat, congestion, general achiness, and to help you sleep.


  • ¼ cup of lemon juice (fresh or concentrate)
  • 1 tsp honey (or more to taste)
  • about 7 whole cloves
  • 1 shot Irish Whiskey
  • ¾ cup boiling water

Mix all the ingredients together and drink at bedtime. Works wonders!


This is a traditional Halloween dish. You wrap a ring in tinfoil and put it in the colcannon (like you do in a barm brack). Whoever gets the ring is the next one to get married.


  • 1 lb. potatoes
  • 1 lb. kale (cabbage may be substituted)
  • Onion, leek or green onion
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Butter, salt and pepper

Peel and boil the potatoes. Chop the kale fairly small, discarding the large stems. Steam until tender, about 8 minutes. Gently saute the onion (if desired) until golden but not too brown. Mash the potatoes well, and mix with the kale and onion. Add the milk (not too much, until moistened but not wet), and the butter, salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a medium oven for about 15 minutes.



  • 2 ½ lb. parsnips
  • 2 oz butter or bacon fat
  • 3 tbls stock
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch nutmeg

Peel parsnips, quarter and remove any woody core. Parboil for 15 minutes. Place in an ovenproof dish. Add stock and sprinkle with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Dot with butter and bake for 30 minutes on a low shelf in a moderate oven. Serves 6 to 8.