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the monthly publication of the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin
Milwaukee President's Message
Rock County Shamrock Club
Fox Cities Shamrock Club
Dane County Shamrock Club
Notice to All Chapters: State Board Meeting
HOLIDAY FOLK FAIR ADVANCE TICKET SALE
Shamrock Club Annual Christmas Party and Potluck Dinner
ICHC Ceili Schedule
Milwaukee Set Dance Club
Blarney Fall 2000 Schedule
Tony Kenny & Friends to Perform at ICHC
27th Annual Tartan Ball
Early History of Dane County Shamrock Club, Part III
Irish News Items
Welcome New Members / Milwaukee Membership Report
Milwaukee Calendar of Events
Wisconsin Calendar of Events
The Name Game
by Patrick O'Hara
Ireland is a country that has always placed a certain amount of credence in the family name. Family names that were in use at the time of St Patrick are still in use in the same areas of the country today. Sections of the country that were named for old Irish families maintain them in this modern age.
The Irish are unusual in one way from most people of the world. Their names are footprints upon the history of the island, and resound with the stories of people and the places they inhabited. Names are the Irish path to the past.
Some of the most ancient names in Ireland have current residents who bear them. How many O'Neills, O'Briens, Kennedys, and McCarthys are around, many of whom are not even knowledgeable about where their names came from, much less the proud ancestry behind them?
Ireland has been a melting pot of cultures, and each new group brought their own influences and names. The Celtic invasions of the island over the centuries before Christ left the land dotted with various place names of the newly conquering group. The Firbolg, or the men of the Belgae, Celts from the north of Europe, attached the names of gods and goddesses to landmarks and rivers of Ireland. The Tuatha De Dannan, the people of the goddess Dana, also left as their legacy, names on rivers and places.
The last of the Celtic invasions of pre-Christian times was that of the Gaels. The Laighian, or spear-carriers, forced their way into southern Ireland, and in the process gave the area their name, Leinster. From this group came a number of other names. Kinsella in Wexford takes its name from the tribe of Ui Ceinnselaigh, while Ossory in Kilkenny comes from the Osraige, and Idrone in County Carlow, occupied by the Uì Drona.
Irish families have given their names to areas of the island. Tirconnell, the northern section of the western part of Ulster, was named after the O'Connell family. Tyrone means the land of Eoghaean. An area of south Munster is called Fermoy, named after the Fir Maige, or the men of Maige.
Subsequent invasions of Ireland contributed new names. The Vikings left their mark via description and association. Doyle originally meant dark foreigner. MacAullife is from Olaf. The McLoughlins were men of the lakes of Scandanavia. The Casements were descended from the sons of Osmand.
The Norman invasion also brought another set of appellations. The use of Fitz in a name comes from the Norman word for son. The Burkes, Fitzgeralds, Barrys, Lynches and Butlers can all trace their origins back to these French Vikings.
The Ulster plantation of settlers from Scotland brought back to the island peoples whose ancestors had walked the same lands in generations past. Common northern names such as McDonald, Graham, and Campbell came to Ireland as a result of the tragedy that forced many of the old Gaelic families off their lands.
The German and French Protestants that came to Ireland in the 17th century brought yet another round of names. Gambons and Taafes were soon added to the mix.
The Gaelic speaking Irish identified themselves using the father's first name as a last. Thus, the son of Conor was MacConor, from the word Mhic, or son. Each generation would have only the name of that person's father as a surname. The practice was common in Northern Europe. The Vikings used the same method to determine a son's name.
The earliest recorded use of a surname was in the late 10th century, in the "Book of the Masters", in which the name O'Cleary was reported as a patronymic, or familial name. Ironically, O'Cleary comes from the word for scribe.
So what do many of these names mean? The O'Briens are descendants of Brian Boru DalCassias, the High King of Ireland who stopped the Viking expansion of power in Europe at Clontarf. Murphys are descendants of O'Murchadha, or sea warriors, or sailors on fighting ships. The Sullivan name comes from Suilleabhin, eye of Levan, (suil meaning eye), Levan being a Celtic deity.
Other names describe physical attributes. Kennedy comes from ceann eidigh, or ugly head. The McCarthys were friendly or loving, while the Kellys' name meant troublesome. The Brennans were sorrowful, the Caseys were watchful. The Flynns were ruddy, the Dunnes and the Donoghues were dark, and the Finns were fair. The Kavanaghs were gentle, while the O'Sheas were hawklike.
The Whelans and Connollys were wolves, while the McMahons were bear-like. The O'Connells were valorous hounds, and the O'Connors were lovers of hounds. The Carrolls were fierce in battle, while the Callaghans were churchgoers, and the McInerneys the keepers of the church. The Dohertys were unlucky, the McGraths were graced. The Quinns were chiefs, and the Powers were poor.
According to the Irish Almanac and Year Book of Facts, 1998 (Art Cam Publishing, Derry), the most common surnames in 1996, and the counties associated were as follows:
• Murphy: Armagh, Cork, Roscommon, Wexford
• Kelly: Antrim, Down, Derry, Galway, Laois, Meath, Roscommon, Sligo, Wicklow
• Walsh: Cork, Galway, Kilkenny, Mayo, Waterford, Wexford
• Byrne: Carlow, Donegal, Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow
• Ryan: Carlow, Tipperary
• O'Connor: Clare, Derry, Kerry, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo
• O'Brien: Clare, Limerick
• O'Sullivan: Cork, Kerry
• O'Neill: Antrim, Derry, Down, Tyrone
• O'Reilly: Cavan, Longford
• Doyle: Carlow, Wexford, Wicklow
• McCarthy: Cork, Kerry
The next 20 most common surnames are: Kennedy, Gallagher, Clarke, Carroll, Brennan, Dunne, Burke, Daley, Martin, Flynn, Farrell, Connolly, Nolan, O'Connell, Fitzgerald, O'Donnell, Power, Maguire, McGrath, Boyle.
The Kellys could be found within the most counties, at nine, with the Brennans next in eight, and the Clarkes in seven. There were a number of family names associated with primarily one county: Gallaghers in Donegal, Dunnes in Laois, Farrells in Longford, O'Callaghans in Cork, Donnellys in Tyrone, O'Shea in Kerry, O'Learys in Cork, and Donovans in Cork.
Amazingly, even with famines, wars, invasions, and mass migration due to economic difficulties, many counties still have family names that are closely associated with them. McCarthy is still very much a County Cork name, and O'Shea is a Kerry name. The old joke in Derry City was that every other boy was named Mickey Doherty. O'Flahertys populate western Galway, and the O'Haras hold sway in Sligo and Mayo.
With today's changing world, the association of a family name with a particular county may slowly be dissipating. Migration to cities has caused a loss of the family from counties. Europeans who fell in love with the beauty of Ireland are buying up property in many areas, and in some ways crowding out the natives. Also, the economic boom called the Celtic Tiger has caused a change in lifestyles, with many people moving to areas that were considered remote not too long ago. The computer is making Ireland a more mobile society, by allowing businesses and employees options in locales they never had before.
However, with all that, the ties to the land are still strong. Will there always be an O'Brien in Clare, or a Gallagher in Donegal? Most likely, at least for the near future. Will they still be there in the next millennium? Stay tuned.
Milwaukee President's Message
Holiday Folk Fair is the oldest indoor ethnic festival in the world. There will be more than fifty (50) countries represented this year at State Fair Park. It runs from November 17 to 19.
Plans for Folk Fair are well under way. Pete and Fran Dundon have, with your help, been able to recruit two additional managers for the food area. If you have not signed up to work a four hour shift it is not too late. See them at the meeting or call them today. During the day they can be reached at (414) 964-4772. NoreeN Barclay has some open spots on her schedule for the sales area. She will be happy to add your name to her list. Her number is (262) 695-8563. Mary McAndrews is busy cleaning the chairs for the culture area. I am sure that she can use some help setting up her booth.
There are some perks for working at Holiday Folk Fair. You will receive a pass to get in that is good for three days and a food voucher for food in the Shamrock Club booth. Parking is very easy at State Fair Park. The International Institute will give you a volunteer pin that is really quite nice.
Muriel Crowley needs people to buy and sell tickets for the Folk Fair. As you know, we as a club are required to buy 125 tickets. If we don't sell them the club pays for them. There could be a big financial loss for the Shamrock Club.
There will be the usual Christmas event at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Muriel Crowley will again hostess the event.
Any day now we will be getting our full schedule for the Bradley Center. Some of our new members have already volunteered to work there. Some of our Bradley Center people will be trying to talk to you about this. We can explain all the duties and answer any questions you might have. Even if you can only work occasionally, we will be happy to have you.
There was a State Board Meeting in Madison on Sept. 30. I think that it was good and we are making plans for another meeting. Watch for a complete report in next month's Emerald Reflections.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Birthday and/or Anniversary.
- Cate Harris
• NOV. 21 - General Membership Meeting, 7:30 p.m. at Alliant Energy Building, 3730 Kennedy Rd., Janesville.
We have been saddened by the death of another of our members. John Holmes died on Sept. 16. I am sure many of our members will remember John as the man with the green Model "A" Ford pickup truck which he drove in many parades, sometimes with St. Patrick riding in the back of his truck.
We welcome our new members: Chuck and Carol Roherty; and, Dan and Diane Tester. We look forward to seeing all of you at our future meetings.
Our program for the November meeting will be a video "In Hands of the Enemy." This is about the 92nd Tank Company, from Janesville.
We are looking forward to seeing you at this meeting and guests are always welcome at any of our meetings.
- Tom Kennedy
• NOV. 8 - Regular Meeting, 7 p.m. at Conkey's in Appleton. John Ahearn speaker
• NOV. 29 - Board Meeting, 7 p.m. at Conkey's in Appleton.
• DEC. 11 - Dinner at Mark's East Side
• DEC. 27 - Note: No Board Meeting
We welcome new members: Jerry and Kathy Brien; Mark and Lori Dougherty; Marian O'Conner; Lucille Pagel; and, Carol Theobald.
To make reservations for the December 11 dinner at Mark's East Side, call Pat A. at (920) 766-5258. The menu and price are being finalized but Pat will have the information when you call her. The evening's schedule will include cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. and a sing-along led by Jerry Brien will follow at 7:30.
Invite your friends to our dinner. When they observe the fun we have they might want to join.
Everyone had a great time at our Sept. 11 dinner. Celtic Knot did an outstanding job. Mark heard how good they were from his staff and hired them to play for his Halfway to St. Patrick's celebration on September 20.
Remember: be sure to check the expiration month on your address label so that you renew your membership on time. Mail your check to: Shamrock Club, P.O. Box 1632; Appleton, WI 54912-1632.
- Elaine Hoes (920) 733-5254
• NOV. 14 - Board Meeting (6:15 p.m.) / Membership Meeting (7:30 p.m.). At Jingles. Hugh and Jim Curley, Scottish bagpipers, will perform Celtic Music.
• DEC. 12 - Annual Christmas Party at Jingles
• JAN. 9 - Board Meeting (6:15 p.m.) at Jingles. No Membership Meeting.
At our September meeting, we were treated to an evening of Irish music and dance, which was provided by the Madison group formerly known as the Standing Stones. This is the same active group which delighted large audiences at this year's Irish Fest and which provided the closing entertainment at the Halfway to St. Patrick's Day celebration at the Irish Culture and Heritage Center located in Milwaukee.
The Dane County Chapter of the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin hosted the State Meeting on September 30 at Jingle's. The minutes of the meeting will be published in Emerald Reflections.
For our November 14 meeting, Hugh and Jim Curley, a father and son team of Scottish bagpipers, will fascinate us with an informative presentation on the history and mechanics of bagpipe playing, along with a performance of Celtic music.
Plans are underway for our annual Christmas Party. The event will be held at Jingle's on December 12. Watch December's Emerald Reflections for more details.
I hope to see everyone at our November 14 meeting on Scottish bagpiping. Bring along a friend or relative. Everyone is welcome.
- Barbara Gallenberg, President
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