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Emerald Reflections Online

Table of Contents - September 2000

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

Early History of Dane County Shamrock Club, Part I

Rock County Shamrock Club

Dane County Shamrock Club

Milwaukee President's Message

Fox Cities Shamrock Club

Next State Meeting Announced

We're Halfway to St. Patrick's Day Celebrate!

Halfway Raffle

AOH Annual Fund Raiser

Milwaukee Hurling Club

Set Dance Workshops

Celtic Bluegrass Fest

Prank Goes Badly

New Members and Membership Report

Milwaukee Calendar of Events

Wisconsin Calendar of Events

Early History of
Dane County Shamrock Club,
Part I

by Margaret Courtney and Barbara Darcy

During The early 1970s, some of the Irish in Madison began hearing about "fabulous trips" to Ireland, sponsored by the Milwaukee Chapter of the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin. The fabulous part was the "cheap fare" - around $200 round trip from Milwaukee to Ireland.

Many residents of the Dane County area took advantage and joined the Milwaukee Chapter. (You had to be recommended for membership by a current member, and you were required to be a member for six months before a flight.)

A little "humorous-tragic" episode occurred on a return flight to Milwaukee. The chartered flights were directed to a nondescript hangar. The temperature in Milwaukee that evening in July had to be in the high 90s. The Custom Officers were stationed behind ordinary card tables trying to process the returnees. As the baggage handlers were bringing in the carts containing luggage and purchases, something began to happen - the sub-cold climate of the plane's baggage compartment and the hot, hot temperature in the hangar started the process of disintegration of the cardboard cartons and the sounds of "clink-clink" were heard as the bottles of Irish whiskey crashed on the cement floor - The River Shannon was flowing in Milwaukee!

By 1974 the climate in Madison was "right" for a Madison Chapter of the Shamrock Club. On October 15, 1974 at 7:30 p.m. at the Park Motor Hotel, the Dane County Chapter of the Shamrock Club was born. Over 150 people attended the meeting as a result of an article in the newspaper. Officers from the Milwaukee Chapter who came to help "get the show on the road" were: Dr. John Walton, Mary Hippler, Bill O'Boyle, Kathleen Valente, and Bill Reilly. The meeting adjourned with Tom Green and John Riley being appointed Co-Chairmen to make plans for the future of the Shamrock Club.

The first organizational meeting of the Dane County Shamrock Club was held at Holy Redeemer Church Hall at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, December 3, 1974.

A General Election meeting was held on Tuesday, January 14, 1975, at the Park Motor Inn. Officers elected were: President Thomas Green, Vice-President Eamon O'Brien, Secretary Sue Ruhland, Treasurer Dolly Harman. Committees were being formed and members were asked to sign up. Accordion and banjo music was furnished by Tom McDermott and Shirley Armstrong and songs were led by Virginia O'Brien.

The February 1975 meeting was held at Holy Redeemer Church Hall when plans were finalized for the "First, Finest, Most Fabulous Dinner-Dance Ever!" to be held at the Elks Club on March 17. Committees were formed with the following people in charge: John Gaffney, Membership; Francis McMahan, Entertainment; Virginia O'Brien, Dance; John Connell, History; Shirley Armstrong and Mary McCann, Language; Elizabeth Weber, History; Betty Usher, Music; and Bob McDermott, Chairman of the Dinner-Dance. Members were also invited to participate in the Milwaukee Parade to be held on Saturday March 15 on Mitchell Street in Milwaukee.


Tom Green and other members of the Shamrock Club raised the flag of Ireland at 10 a.m. at Evergreen Park on St. Patrick's Day. The brief ceremony was covered by television and other news media. Traditional Irish music was played and a few brief comments were made about the contributions the Irish had made in America. It appeared that this ceremony would become a tradition with the Dane County Chapter.

The first annual St. Patrick's Day Dinner-Dance was held at the Elks Club and was a "rousing" success thanks to Chairman Bob McDermott, who organized it and Mel Stapleton, who was in charge of arrangements. The evening was spent dancing to the music of the Charlie Mears' Trio. At 11:15, Ginny O'Brien led everyone in singing, A Soldier's Song. All those in attendance were left looking forward to the following year's celebration.

At the April 8, 1975 meeting, the following officers were elected: Judge William Bryne, Parliamentarian; John Gaffney, Membership; Matt Lynaugh, Sgt.-at-Arms; Marvin O'Brien, 3 year trustee; Joe Lamperiello, 2 year Trustee; and Mel Stapleton, 1 year Trustee. The program for the evening was slides of the big St. Patrick's weekend and a full entertainment of music and dance. It was announced that the May Meeting of the Dane County Chapter would be held at the Elks Club on Jennifer Street, and that if people wished to eat at the Club, they would please call ahead for reservations.

The summer of 1975 was a busy one for the new Club. The first annual picnic was held at Warner Park on July 15. One of the big events of the year was the arrival of the St. James Choir and Orchestra. They would perform at Edgewood High School Auditorium on August 9. The arrival of the participants from Dublin to stay with members of our Club was indeed a very much-anticipated event.

The St. James Choir and Orchestra (90 some people) of Dublin, under the direction of Father John O'Brien, arrived in Madison at Edgewood High School. The members were greeted by their hosts (after a fun time of matching numbers and names) and were taken to their "temporary homes" to get acquainted and to have a quick look-see tour of Madison before their concert.

It was a "not to be forgotten" evening! A sell-out crowd numbered over 500 at Edgewood Auditorium which had a capacity of 372 permanent seats! The SRO crowd was most appreciative of the performance of the Choir and Orchestra and let their feelings be known. The Dane County members were already looking forward to their NEXT VISIT! It was a lot of hard work and special thanks were given to Eamon O'Brien who organized it all and many other people who helped in making it a tremendous success.

As we entered the fall season of 1975 the Club was up and running well! We had our own instrumental group under the direction of Francis McMahan, our dance group under the direction of Virginia O'Brien, and our vocal group under the direction of Genevieve Gersbach and later Francis McMahan. They were all "practicing" to be able to perform at our Club's functions and also to perform in public, especially nursing homes for the entertainment of those less fortunate.

As we closed out the year of 1975 we were alive and well and going places! Our membership was over 350 and we were activating one of our Goals - Charity. A donation of $100 was given to the local "Vietnamese Refugee" effort, subscriptions to Ireland of the Welcomes to each convalescent and rest home in the area, and finally $100 to the Madison Public Library for purchase of books, records and films to better inform the public of things Irish. An added note to the December meeting - $139 was contributed to the Empty Stocking Club by the members who attended the Christmas Party.


The early months of meetings were mostly concerned with plans to participate in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Milwaukee on the 13th of March, and our own Flag Raising on March 14th at Monroe and Grant Streets at 2:00 p.m.

Much credit was given to John Connell for his ideas and planning of the Bicentennial theme for the Dane County Chapter's part of the parade in Milwaukee. Tom Green was quoted as saying, "I was proud to be one of the 'Spirit of 76' trio, but as the fife player, I got a little weary of hearing 'Yankee Doodle' coming from my tape recorder about 200 times!"

On Sunday, March 14th the Annual Flag Raising on Monroe Street was held. Thanks were given to Jack Cummings from the St. Andrews Society for being present in full Scotsman's regalia and rendering, so well on his pipes, some traditional Irish tunes. Our own instrumental group provided its usual stirring renditions of Irish patriotic songs.

Also, that evening, some of the members put on an hour program of music and song for the Golden Agers of Blessed Sacrament Parish. It became our intention to bring this type of activity to the community and to make the Shamrock Club known as a vital force for good in our community.

The second annual St. Patrick's Day Dinner-Dance was held at the East Side Businessmen's Club on March 17th. Dr William J. O'Rouke was chosen to be our first Irish Person of the Year. There were over 400 reservations for the evening and a wonderful time was had by all.

It is only fair to mention the many wonderful slides and movies that were presented to the membership as our "travelers" returned from Ireland - Joe Lampariello, Tom Green, Martin Kennedy, Gordy Reese are only a few of the names that come to mind.

The summer brought our second annual Shamrock Picnic at Warner Park on Sunday, July 18th. A Band Concert at Vilas Park on Sunday, August 1st was an all Irish program under the direction of Elmer Ziegler with the Madison City Band. Our own Shamrock Chorus sang several numbers.

On Saturday, August 14th, the Club sponsored a trip to Arlington Race Track under the direction of Shirley Armstrong. We never heard the "monetary gains" but a good time was had by all.

Our Club sponsored The Bards in a concert at MATC on October 19th. The group originated in County Derry in 1971 where they performed in local pubs and folk clubs and won folk music competitions. Shortly thereafter they began performing extensively in Ireland and then the United States. The reception to this music was very enthusiastic. A later item reported that the Bards concert was a huge success. A big thank you went to the Chairman of the event, Francis McMahan and the many people who assisted him. A profit of $718 was realized and was earmarked for our scholarship fund.

Our dance group, under the direction of Virginia O'Brien and the music group, under the direction of Francis McMahan, entertained at the Portage Shamrock Club on September 19th and were well received.

Watch for further installments of Dane County's early history (1974-85) in upcoming issues of Emerald Reflections.

Rock County


    Sept. 19 - General Membership Meeting. Due to the renovation of the Senior Center, our meetings this year will be at the Alliant Energy Building, 3730 Kennedy Road, Janesville. Located approx. one quarter mile north of Hwy. 14 between Hwys. 26 and 51.

Since our May meeting we have been saddened by the death of another of our members. Gene Tallman died July 21st. His wife, Judy, told us that Gene always enjoyed the Shamrock Club activities.

A meeting of the new Board members was held on July 14th at the home of Marge Reed. Much was accomplished.

Our Club picnic was held at Sweet-Allyn Park in Shopiere on July 18th. We had a good turnout but due to a chilly evening, the bingo game was cancelled until our September meeting. Hope to see all of you there at the September meeting.

- Tom Kennedy

Dane County


    Sept. 12 - Board Meeting at Jingles (6:15 p.m.) followed by General Membership Meeting (7:30 p.m.) The Standing Stones, a local six member band, will perform Celtic music.

Thirty-five members enjoyed the annual July potluck picnic and social gathering held at the Knights of Columbus building on Verona Road. We are grateful to the Knights of Columbus for the use of their building, and to Lee Tvedten and Thomas Wildenborg for hosting this popular event.

During our September 12 meeting at 7:30 p.m. at Jingles, the Standing Stones, a local six member band, will perform Celtic music. We look forward to a good turnout for this fantastic evening.

- Barbara Gallenberg

Milwaukee President's Message

Irish Fest is over and it really doesn't seem as though it is 20 years old. The Shamrock Club was selected by the Irish Fest Board of Directors as one of the organizations to be honored as a member of the "Chieftains Circle." A special "Irish Fest Lifetime Pass" and certificate were presented to me as a representative of the Shamrock Club in recognition of our past support. It was indeed an honor.

Now back to the real world. Norene Barclay did a great job as usual and she had some last minute recruits to make her schedule as full as it should be. Mary McAndrews had a good turnout as her job description offered a job could you sit down to do.

The picnic was very good, a new venue, new faces. A bus was available to take picnickers down the hill to watch the hurlers which turned out to be very interesting. The hurlers put on a good show. The Steel Bonnets were in their usual good form. The Irish dancers were wonderful and every one really had a good time watching them. Thanks, Joe Hughes, to you and your committee.

The next event is Holiday Folk Fair November 17-19. Last year being the first year at State Fair Park there were some glitches with signage and floor plans. However, this year these problems are being addressed, now that the committee knows about them. Sue Dundon, our General Chair, has attended a meeting with more to come. Folk Fair is planning some new events. It is not too early to sign up to help in the food booth with Pete and Fran Dundon, Sales with Norene Barclay and Mary McAndrews, the only one who offers you a sit down job. A bit of really good news, Muriel Crowley has agreed to seel advance tickets for Folk Fair.

In September the Post Office held a multicultural event. The Shamrock Club participated with a sales table manned by Norene Barclay and culture table by Muriel Crowley.

The State Meeting will be in Madison on September 30. If you have any concerns or suggestions to discuss at this meeting you can let Cate Harris, Sue Dundon or Dale Brenon know. We are your representatives, please talk to us.

The board meetings are all open to members of the Shamrock Club. You can come and listen any time. After the January meeting, we go into executive session to elect our honorees. This is the only time members aren't allowed. Meetings are held the last Thursday of the month. Eddie, our security person is on duty for most of the ICHC events.

- Cate Harris, President

Fox Cities


    Business Meetings: None in September; October 11, November 18

    Board Meetings: September 27, October 27, November 29, none in December.

    All meetings held at 7 p.m. at Conkey's in Appleton

Call (920) 733-5254 for reservations to our Sept. 11 Halfway to St. Patrick's Day Dinner ASAP is you haven't already done so. The entertainment will be Celtic Knot Trio. The event will be held at Mark's Eastside in Appleton. Cocktails at 6 p.m.; Dinner at 6:30 p.m.; followed by entertainment at 7:30 p.m.

Note the following on the music scene: at Trilogy in Greenville: Druid's Table on Sept. 15; Steve Hazell on Oct. 6; Druid's Table on Oct. 13; Steve Hazell on Nov. 4 (Sat.). At the Grand Opera House in Oshkosh: Altan on Sept. 14; LaBottine Souriante on Nov. 17.

Membership forms can be picked up at Mystic Ireland on College Ave., Appleton or call me and I'll send you some if you know of some prospective members. If every current member could sign up just one or two new members it would really make a difference in the activities we could generate for our membership. I'll have some forms available at our Sept. 11 dinner. Bring a friend or two to enjoy good food, good conversation and excellent entertainment.

- Elaine Hoes, Secretary
(920) 733-5254

Next State Meeting

The Dane County Shamrock Club has offered to host the next Statewide Meeting. It is to be held at Jingle's Coliseum Bar, located at 232 East Olin Avenue in Madison on September 30, 2000. (We have our own private area noon to 4 p.m.)

We're Halfway to
St. Patrick's Day - Celebrate

Bring the whole family to the Irish Culture and Heritage Center at 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave. on Sept. 17 and help celebrate Celtic culture at the Halfway to St. Patrick's Day Party. The Milwaukee Shamrock Club Color Guard Pipes and Drums will kick off the festivities at noon and will be followed by an afternoon of music, song, and dance. Such noted area groups as Steel Bonnets, Standing Stones, Navan, Green Side Up, Ceol Cairde, and Leahy's Luck will provide the music and song while the Cashel-Dennehy Irish Dancers, the Milwaukee School of Highland Dance, and Trinity will provide the lively step-dancing. There will be ceili and set dancing all day for beginners and pros. The children will be further entertained by The Story Lady, or they can take bohdran lessons with Dave Delgado or ceili dance lessons with Bridget Jaskulski.

Stay all day! There will be plenty of potato soup, corn beef, hot dogs, chips, cookies, and assorted beverages for purchase. This year will also feature a tea room where you can enjoy a light mid-afternoon snack in a quieter surrounding. Packer fans need not miss out on the fun; TVs will keep you informed of every play. You can also try your luck on some of the many raffle items.

Come celebrate with us! The Celtic Groups Board is sponsoring this family event and will have literature available on the many Celtic organizations that are in Milwaukee. Admission will be $6 adults; $3 children 12 and under; college students $3 with ID; and children 5 and under are free. All proceeds will benefit the ICHC. Call (414) 345-8800 for more information.

September 17 at the ICHC, noon till 6 p.m.: come for the fun!

"Halfway" Raffle

If you have any items to donate to the Halfway to St. Pat's raffle please contact Tom and Julia Smith 1107 S. 26th Street; Milw., WI 53204; (414) 384-4119. All proceeds benefit ICHC. We can pickup any item. With your generous help we made last year's a great success. Thank you.

AOH Annual Fund Raiser

The Ancient Order of Hibernians will have their Annual Spaghetti Dinner and Mass of Remembrance at St Rose's Parish on Saturday, October 7 at 4 p.m. with a spaghetti dinner to follow.

The Mass and Spaghetti Dinner are the AOH's annual fundraiser. Moneys raised go to the William Ryan Drew Scholarship Fund. Charities for 2000 are St. Rose Nativity School and Notre Dame School for Girls. For information call Rod Keenan at (262) 784-7927.

Milwaukee Hurling Club

The Milwaukee Hurling Club standings as of July 31, 2000 are as follows:

Champion's Reivers: 7-2
Axel's Adders: 6-3
Hegarty's Hammers: 4-5
Dubliner Wolfpack: 4-5
McBob's Gaelwinds: 4-5
County Clare Cats:2-7

Set Dance Workshops

Interested in dancing to the traditional music heard at Irish Fest in an adult, social, setting? The Milwaukee Set Dance Club will be presenting two series of four workshops to teach Irish set dances this fall to beginning dancers.

The first Beginners series will begin on Sunday, September 24, and continue on Sundays through October 15th. The focus of these classes will be to teach the basic principles of set dance, as well as two common set dances, the Caledonian and the Sliabh Luachra polka set.

The Advanced Beginners series will be offered on Sundays beginning October 29 through November 19. These classes will continue with building set dancing skills. Participants will also learn two more set dances, the Clare Plain and the Ballyvourney Jig set.

The workshops will be taught by experienced local set dancers. It is not necessary to bring a partner, but it is recommended that smooth-soled shoes and comfortable clothing be worn.

Both series will be held in the second floor dance area of the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center, 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave. from 4 - 5:30pm. Advance registration is suggested. The class fee for each series of four classes is $10, payable in advance or at the door. For more information, call Julie Puhek at 414-321-3521 or send e-mail to

Celtic Bluegrass Fest

On October 21 the Celtic Bluegrass Fest will be held "Live at the Hallamor" in the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center, 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. Featured performers will be: Maine's premiere folk country trio, Turkey Hollow Consort; Madison's impressive bluegrass, country and honky-tonk band, Nob Hill Boys; and Milwaukee's own award winning Frogwater. Doors open at 6 p.m., music begins at 7 p.m. Cost is only $12. For information call the ICHC at (414) 345-8800.

Prank Goes Badly

An impish prank by a Dublin man resulted in a costly legal lesson, while the unwitting sheep he enlisted required a trip to the local vet. The Irish Times had this story to pass along, entitled "Sheep in T-Shirt and Shorts!":

"A man who dressed up a stray sheep in a T-shirt and shorts for a prank saw it go badly wrong when he dropped the animal over a wall into a garden with three dogs. Mr Christopher Hutch (22), Sherrard Street, Dublin, was fined £250 for cruelty to the sheep which he found near his home on February 7th last year.

"Garda Alan Toft told the Dublin District Court the sheep was taken to the flat where Mr Hutch lived and dressed up in a T-shirt and shorts. It was then brought to a nearby home of one of Mr. Hutch's friends and dropped over a six-foot wall into the friend's rear garden. There were three dogs in the garden, which attacked the sheep. It survived and was brought to a farm in Co. Meath.

"Mr. Hutch told the court he had never meant any harm to come to the sheep but had done it as a prank to surprise his friend when he came home to find a sheep in his garden.

"Judge Lucey said he could impose a prison sentence but in view of the fact that he had pleaded guilty, he would be fined £250. Judge Lucey ordered that £500 should go to the ISPCA and that Mr. Hutch also pay £100 towards veterinary fees incurred by the State."

Welcome New Members

MILWAUKEE - Mr. and Mrs. Joseph F. Donahue (referred by Mary Stephens); Nick, Mary, Aidan, Aislyn Keyes; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Reed (referred by Mary McAndrews); Timothy and Nancy Stanley Sheehan.

SOUTH CENTRAL - Mr. Joe Ennis.


June: 32 notices sent out, 20 paid, 12 dropped for non-payment of dues.

July: 31 notices sent out, 20 paid to date, 11 due.

August: 69 notices sent out.