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Emerald Reflections Online

Table of Contents - October 2002

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

Happy New Year - It's Halloween

Milwaukee Shamrock Club Honoree Dinner

UWM Student is All-Ireland Champion

Milwaukee Treasurer's Report

South Central Shamrock Club

South Central Loses Long Time Member

Celtic Popular Culture Conference

Holiday Folk Fair

Advance Sale Folk Fair Tickets

Hurling Club Wrap-Up

Dane County Shamrock Club

Shamrock Club of Rock County

Milwaukee President's Message

Color Guard News and Notes

St. Patrick's Help Fund

Welcome New Members

Milwaukee Calendar of Events

Wisconsin Calendar of Events

Happy New Year - It's Halloween

by Brian Witt

The leaves are turning colors, the days are shrinking, and the coolness of fall is upon us. It must be time for Samhain. The ancient Celtic New Year takes place on November 1, a time when the spirits of our ancestors walk among us, and magic is rife in the air.

Samhain is one of the two great doorways of the Celtic year. The other is Beltane on May 1. Some believe that Samhain was the more important festival, marking the beginning of a whole new cycle, just as the Celtic day began at night. Beltane was celebrated with a dawn celebration. Samhain was best celebrated in the dark, when magic was strongest, and the darkness was at its deepest.

Samhain literally means "summer's end." With the rise of Christianity, Samhain was changed to Hallowmas, or All Saints' Day, to commemorate the souls of the blessed dead who had been canonized that year, so the night before became popularly known as Halloween, All Hallows Eve, or Hollantide. November 2nd became All Souls Day, when prayers were to be offered to the souls of all who the departed and those who were waiting in Purgatory for entry into Heaven.

In the country year, Samhain marked the first day of winter. The year's harvest was in, and it was time for the land to lay fallow for a while. Cattle were penned, or slaughtered, and food was stored away, safe for the long winters. All the harvest must be gathered in, for come November, the faeries would blast every growing plant with their breath, blighting any nuts and berries remaining on the hedgerows. All the amenities of a secure winter, peat and wood for winter fires, were stacked high by the hearth.

Fire was an important part of the Samhain celebrations. In early Ireland, people gathered at the ritual centers of the tribes, for Samhain was the principal calendar feast of the year. The greatest assembly was the 'Feast of Tara,' focusing on the royal seat of the High King as the heart of the sacred land, the point of conception for the new year. In every household throughout the country, hearth-fires were extinguished. All waited for the Druids to light the fire of the new year.

The gods drew near to Earth at Samhain, in part because so many sacrifices and gifts were offered up in thanksgiving for the harvest. Personal prayers in the form of objects symbolizing the wishes of supplicants or ailments to be healed were cast into the fire, and at the end of the ceremonies, brands were lit from the great fire of Tara to re-kindle all the home fires of the tribe. As they received the flame that marked this time of beginnings, people surely felt a sense of the kindling of new dreams, projects and hopes for the year to come.

Fire was an enemy of the dark. The brighter the blaze, the more protection was afforded. Bonfires in Ireland as well as in Britain were extremely popular until World War One. Reports of entire villages lighting large blazes, and then circling them in song were commonplace.

Samhain was a significant time for divination. Divination customs and games frequently featured apples and nuts from the recent harvest, and candles played an important part in adding atmosphere to the mysteries. Girls were told to place hazel nuts along the front of the fire grate, each one to symbolize one of her suitors. She could then divine her future husband by chanting, 'If you love me, pop and fly; if you hate me, burn and die.'

Several methods used the apple, that most popular of Halloween fruits. You should slice an apple through the center to reveal the five-pointed star within and then eat it by candlelight before a mirror. Your future spouse will then appear over your shoulder.

Perhaps the most famous icon of the holiday is the jack-o-lantern. It was used as a lantern by people who traveled the road this night, the scary face to frighten away spirits or faeries who might otherwise lead one astray. Placed on porches and in windows, they cast the same spell of protection over the household. In Ireland, they were carved from turnips.

The custom of dressing in costume and 'trick-or-treating' is of Celtic origin. However, there are some important differences from the modern version. In the first place, the custom was not relegated to children, but was actively indulged in by adults as well. Dressing up in costumes was a way of confusing your dead relatives, for if they couldn't identify you, they couldn't ask for your help. Oftentimes, men dressed as women, and vice versa, to add to the spiritual confusion. Also, the 'treat' which was required was often one of alcohol, bringing spirits to the spirits, as it were.

If all this talk of spirits, ancient gods and faeries hasn't scared you, you might want to consider the Gaelic League's annual Samhain Celebration. It takes place on November 2, at the Erin Inn, 6102 Donegal Road, Hartford WI 53027. The fun starts at 6 p.m., and the bonfire, (of course the bonfire, it is Samhain,) will take place after dark.

Happy Halloween.

Shamrock Club Honoree Dinner

We are going to have a dinner to honor our own
Irishman fo the Year, Irish Rose, Parade Marshal

Everyone is welcome to come help celebrate

Sunday, October 6, 2002
Klemmer's Banquet Center - 10401 W. Oklahoma Avenue

$17 per person for dinner

Price includes soup, salad, dinner, ice cream, beverage, tax, and tip
Free Beer - Cash Bar for Cocktails
Entertainment by Green Side Up
Cocktail Hour begins at 5 PM - Dinner at 6 PM

Come join the fun!
For Information and Reservations: Call Mike Payne at (414) 541-8427


UWM Student is All-Ireland Champion


Brian Hart, a student in UW-Milwaukee's Celtic Studies Program, just became the first American to be awarded the All-Ireland Champion Medal in Traditional Singing. Brian was also the youngest-ever winner since the competition was inaugurated in 1958. He won this prestigious award at the recent Fleadh Ceol na hEireann in Listowel, Co. Kerry.

The Fleadh, which attracts over 200,000 participants and spectators, is the largest Irish cultural festival in the world. A treasure trove of traditional music, the Fleadh offers 5,000 aspirants a chance to become All-Ireland Champion, a much-coveted title. Brian's performance of two beautiful balads, The Village of Clochbhui and Our Own Dear Native Land, earned him the gold medal and O'Dalaigh Shield. His name will now be added to the trophy alongside the illustrious list of noble and notable previous winners including Joe Heaney, Frank Harte, and Paddy Berry.

Brian is a modest and dedicated young man with a great love of Irish language and culture. He is generous to a fault in sharing his talents with the community, a regular participant in the Thursday night sessions at Paddy's Pub. In May, Brian was among the first five recipients of the UWM Certificate in Celtic Studies (Cultural Emphasis). He's currently working on the Language Emphasis Certificate. His senior Honors project involves the translation of some of the great Irish Sean Nos songs into English, and the production of a CD of these songs.

Being both the youngest and first American ever to win this major Irish cultural award, Brian caused quite a stir in Listowel. He was stopped in the street and congratulated by total strangers! "Fair play to you!" was a phrase expressed by one and all. We're all honored and delighted that Brian has brought the O'Dalaigh Shield to Milwaukee and Wisconsin for the first time in history. We will be recognizing his achievement at the annual Center for Celtic Studies Samhain Celebration at the Hefter Center (UWM, October 31st).

- John Gleeson

Treasurer's Report

To: Shamrock Club of Wisconsin, Inc.
From: Sharon L. Murphy, Treasurer
Re: Year end treasurer's report for the year ended 6/30/02
Date: August 29, 2002

The accounting records for the fiscal year ended 6/30/02 are complete. The tax return has been completed.

We brought in $3554 more than we budgeted. The colorguard had $2668 more income than budgeted since they had budgeted some uniform expenses that didn't have to be purchased this year. The Folk Fair and Irish Fest sales areas were $1674 over their budgeted profit because of the great work done by Noreen Barclay and all her volunteers. Noreen has also set up her sales items at other activities like the post parade party.

Emerald Reflections advertising, the Bradley Center, Entertainment & Gold C books, and the post parade party brought in more income than was budgeted.

Our operating expenses were $4757 higher than we budgeted. We deliberately paid the $2000 Irish Fest donation at year end because we wanted to change the timing of this annual expense. The cost of the Emerald Reflections increased mostly due to the increase in postage. Our volunteer party cost was increased because we wanted to add entertainment and we added the cost of sending out notification to the volunteers. We had an additional expense of $500 for the IRS 501(c)(3) application fee. We should be getting a favorable response soon.

We finished the year with a net income of $9280. If we deduct the $10000 from the BBAA for the prior year parade and we do not include the $2000 Irish Fest donation we still would have had a profit of $1280.

South Central

A board meeting was held on Monday, August 5 at Papa's Place in West Baraboo.

The first order of business was LaDonna Devine speaking on the performance of "Different Drums of Ireland" with Stone Ring. The board voted to donate money towards the advertisement for this, which was held at the Al Ringling Theatre, in downtown Baraboo, August 10.

On August 29, "Concert on the Square" in Baraboo, was in honor of John Langer, a long time member of So. Central Shamrock Club, who passed away in late June.

Dates for the fall meetings were also set up.

October 27, Memorial Mass, 10:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart in Reedsburg with a brunch to follow at the Reedsburg Country Club.

November 17 at 3 p.m. at the Farm Kitchen in Baraboo which is a Sunday.

Sunday, December 15 will be our annual Christmas Party, which will be held at the Reedsburg Country Club.

Dates for meetings in 2003, will be set at a later date.

- Mary E. Stieve, Reporter

South Central Loses
Long Time Member

Attorney John M. Langer of Baraboo died on Sunday, June 30, 2002. He was born on Dec. 2, 1931, the son of Attorney Harold Myron and Katherin Mary (Hickey) Langer. He was a lifelong resident. Langer came from a pioneer Sauk County family, his great-grandfather, Patrick Hickey, having been the first settler in the Town of Dellona in 1846.

Langer was a 1949 graduate of Baraboo High School and received his Bachelor of Science Degree from UW Madison in 1953, following which he entered the U.S. Navy where he served on Destroyer and with the 9th Marine Infantry Regiment. He was released from active duty in January, 1958 with the rank of Lieutenant. Following his naval service, Langer returned to UW, frist to its graduate school and then entered its Law School from which he graduated in 1960.

Extremely active in civic life, Langer shared his talents with a long list of organizations. In addition to the Shamrock Club others included: Sauk County Legal Aid Program, Sauk County Bar Association, numerous legal associations; Wisconsin and U.S. Jaycees; Vacationland Alumni Club of UW; UW Band Alumni Association; Baraboo United Fund; American Legion; Baraboo Kiwanis; Wisconsin Community Action Council; Baraboo School Board; Baraboo American Field Service Chapter, Camp Gray, Inc.; Sauk Co. and State Historical Societies; MENSA, and AARP.

Celtic Popular Culture Conference

What are the links between popular culture and history, politics, economics, language, and psychology in the Celtic regions and those countries influenced by them? We will attempt to answer these questions at a special one-day conference at the ICHC on October 12th. Public participation is particularly welcome.

There will be presentations on such topics as: The Book of Invasions and Popular Culture, Scottish Devolution and Nationalism, Saint Patrick's Day Observances, Modern Concepts of Celticness, The Importance of Being Irish American, Irish Traditions in America, The Invention of O'Celtic Music, and more... There will be readings by such writers as Pat Monaghan, James Liddy, and Jim Hazard, who will talk about the writing of his new book, How my Father Became Irish at an Early Age. The Hurling and Currach clubs will talk about their sports. There will be an evening of Celtic entertainment, and Lawrence McCaffrey, Professor emeritus at Loyala and noted writer and expert on Irish America, will give the keynote address on Irish stereotypes in Hollywood.

To register, and for further information, call the UWM Center for Celtic Studies at (414) 229-6520.

Holiday Folk Fair

Retail - Early and Late Shifts
Help Make the
Irish Representation
a huge Success!

The annual Holiday Folk Fair will take place November 22-24, 2002 at the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds. This is the week preceding Thanksgiving. We will need volunteers to work the weekend. We will need help in our retail, food, and cultural areas.

If you would like to work at the 2002 Holiday Folk Fair, please contact the Shamrock Club's Holiday Folk Fair Chairs: (Food) Pete and Fran Dundon at (414) 242-8245, email at; (Sales) Noreen Barclay at (414) 695-8563, email at; or, (Cultural) Mary McAndrews at (414) 276-8779. Or contact the club at our e-mail address,


November 22, 23, 24, 2002

The Shamrock Club must sell 125 Holiday Folk Fair Tickets
Any unsold tickets must be purchased by the club at full value.


Please send me _______ advance sale Holiday Folk Fair
Tickets at $7 each.



City/State:____________________ Zip_______

Mail your ticket request to:
1020 Georges Ave.,
Brookfield, WI 53045

Your tickets will be sent to you by return mail, and are good any of the three days of Folk Fair, November 22, 23, 24.


Hurling Club Wrap-Up


Milwaukee Hurling Club photo of 2002 Shamrock Club Griffins

On Sunday, August 25th, the Milwaukee Hurling Club held its championship day, with McBob's and County Clare playing for the title. McBob's got on the board first, with some nice passing and clearing and was able to make their way to a 20-4 halftime lead. County Clare, with some crisp hurling, hung with them through the second water break, and heading into the final 20 minutes, it was McBob's 20 and Clare 7. When play resumed, McBob's played well and cushioned their lead and ended up with a 42-10 victory and the 2002 Milwaukee Hurling Club Championship. Congratulations to both teams for an exciting and well-played match!

The Milwaukee Hurling Club will be continuing its Wednesday evening practices throughout September. These take place at the lakefront, on Lincoln Memorial Dr. in Veterans Park, near the old Coast Guard station. New players are welcome and encouraged to check it out. Practices run from 6 p.m. until dark.

For up-to-date information and events for the Milwaukee Hurling Club, please call the MHC hotline at (414) 297-9490 or visit us at

Dane County Shamrock Club


OCT. 8 - Board Meeting at Coliseum Bar, 6:15. Continuation of Bob's talk on the "Potato Famine". Members and guests welcome at general meeting at 7 p.m. The co-presidents are traveling this month. Paul is leading a Friendship Force Exchange to Brazil. Colleen and Al Schams are traveling from the Black Sea to the North Sea via the Danube and Rhine Rivers.

Interesting note: according to the records from the Milwaukee Club attendance at the Irish Fest hit 132,000 plus spectators this year, a new record! A special thank you to Sue Morrison and Margaret Rupert for offering their van and car to transport any interested Dane County Shamrock Club members to Irish Fest. However, everyone managed to find their own transportation so Margaret and Sue came together dressed in their very own unique leprechaun costumes. They were a crowd pleaser in Milwaukee as they were in our Madison parade last year. Margaret and Sue were so convincing as the "real things" from Ireland that they were asked many times by people at the Irish Fest to have a picture taken with them. Margaret and Sue were most gracious. What splendid "ambassadors" for the Dane County Shamrock Club they are!

Our Club was very fortunate in that we didn't contract for a bus to take our members and/or their guests to Milwaukee as that would have been an unnecessary expenditure for our members.

The Kissers, who have performed for us twice, will be performing for us at our Christmas banquet this year. An important change in the Shamrock Club Christmas Banquet - it will be held at the Coliseum Bar (formerly "Jingles") the THIRD Tuesday December 17, not the second Tuesday as usual with Shamrock events. When we asked for the second Tuesday in December (in the month of July), the evening was already booked.

August 17, Paul, Colleen, Al, Bob Kerans and his wife, Laura, attended the State Advisory/Breakfast Meeting at the ICHC (Irish Cultural and Heritage Center) in Milwaukee. Discussions on more cooperation and connections between Clubs was one of the main topics. The usual exchange of ideas and programs that were successful in various Clubs was also very helpful to us.

Once again, Barb Darcey has made name tags for all Dane County Shamrock members according to the latest membership list. The Club presidents wish to thank Barb for volunteering to do this. At the next meeting or social function, wear your name tag with pride. This is an easy way to introduce yourself and get acquainted with the other members. With so many new members and an impressive increase in members coming to our events, a name tag jogs the memory as well as avoiding awkward moments when you "know someone but don't know them". We've all been there!

An Old Irish Toast: May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty.

- Co-Presidents Paul Buckalew and Colleen Schams

Rock County


OCTOBER 15 - 6 p.m. Potluck Dinner; 7 p.m. General Membership Meeting

NOVEMBER 19 - General Membership Meeting; 7 p.m.

Our October meeting will begin with a Potluck supper at 6 p.m. so bring your favorite dish-to-pass and your own table service. The club will furnish the coffee. Bring some friends along and if we feed them well they might like to join our fine Irish organization. The general membership meeting will follow the Potluck at 7 p.m. If you have any suggestions for programs for our future meetings, please let us know as we are always open to any suggestions you have for programs or for conducting our meetings.

- Tom Kennedy

Milwaukee President's Message

Ladies, Gentlemen, Irish All;

September and Reflections of 9-11... friends family, and extended families let us be thankful to have the many good people around us contributing to the betterment of our communities.

September began with parades and performances in Janesville, St. Francis and Waukesha. The Shamrock Club General Meeting was very well attended, including a number of new members. Those present were treated to presentations from the Milwaukee Hurling Club and Milwaukee Currach Club.

In October join the Shamrock Club Color Guard Pipes and Drums and the Ancient Order of Hibernians at St. Rose's Church for their annual Mass. The Shamrock Club Honoree Dinner on Oct. 6 will pay tribute to Katie Voss our Irish Rose, Tom Smith Irishman of the Year, and Chuck McLaughlin our 2002 Parade Marshal. The Celtic Women's Lecture Series continues every first friday of the month and the Hallamor concert series will feature another wonderful evening of entertainment, this month by Barachois ... and join us for the Celtic New Year, Samhain, at the end of the month. You don't want to miss the October General Meeting which will feature entertainment by St. Brendan's Voyage. It is also where you will receive more information about all the Irish events going on in the Milwaukee area.

- Joe Hughes

Color Guard News & Notes

Spectacular!, Fantastic! Awesome! These were just a few of the comments made by spectators who witnessed the Shamrock Club Color Guard, Pipes and Drums performance at Irish Fest 2002.

Marching into the Crossroads venue to the combination of God Bless America and America the Beautiful put the crowds on their feet with this opening number. Wearin of the Green, Highland Cathedral, the unit's salute to our military services, and their patriotic set brought loud cheering and plenty of applause! The touching and emotional feelings displayed by the crowd to the playing of Amazing Grace and the standing ovation the Color Guard Pipes and Drums received as they concluded the program to Our Nation Once Again was truly a very moving experience. We hope you didn't miss these two performances but if you did, you missed something very special.

The Color Guard Pipes and Drums finished out August with parades in Richfield and St. Francis followed by our traditional appearance in the Janesville Labor Day Parade. The unit also opened the inaugural Wisconsin Scottish Highland Games on Friday, August 30 and did a special performance on Sunday, September 1 held at the Waukesha Expo Center. We hope you were able to see the group perform.

Your Shamrock Club Color Guard Pipes and Drums are a very special group of people. They are committed to representing the traditions, ancestry and heritage of Ireland through their marching and musical appearances 35-40 times a year. It is very easy to show your pride in and support of the Unit - come out to our performances and cheer the group on during their appearances.


5 - AOH Mass and Dinner, St. Rose's Church, Milwaukee; 5 p.m.
19 - Sister Bay Fall Festival; 11 a.m.

9 - New Berlin Christmas parade; 2 p.m.
17 - Waukesha Christmas Parade; 4 p.m.
30 - Grafton Christmas Parade; 11 a.m.

1 - Menomonee Falls Christmas Parade; 4:30 p.m.

For further information regarding parade performances, special events/occasion appearances or if you'd like to join the Unit, please contact:

Jim Dickmann: Director/Commander
Shamrock Club Color Guard, Pipes & Drums
Telephone (262) 377-2601
Fax (262) 377-3901

- Richard Stover

St. Patrick's Help Fund

St. Patrick's Help Fund needs non-perishable foods, Pampers, bus tickets and school suplies such as pens and pencils, notebooks, folders and backpacks. Please place in container at each meeting. Questions? Call Katy Voss (414) 352-6479.

New Members

NOTE: Please send your dues to your Membership Chairperson in your chapter. All names and addresses are listed in Emerald Reflections.

LaCROSSE - Rev. J. Thomas Finucan; Lois Walsh.

MILWAUKEE - David Bump and Jane Andera; Cathy Coughlin Becker; Tony and Robin Beres; Joe and Barb Brooks; Sean and Vicki Burditt; Cory T. Callahan; Robert Dempsey; Terry and Mary Dollmann; William Ryan Drew; Veronica Fedorchok; Patrick Fitzgibbons; Colleen and Warren Forecki; Barb Foulks; Jeff Gepfert; Michael Geraghty; John Giese; Dennis Goss; J. Timothy Greene; Mary Ellen Hogan; Judith Ellen Jones; Dan Keegan; Harvey and Betty King; Emily Koenig; Kathleen Kreiter; Kathleen Hanke; Chris and Michelle McArdle; Ralph Sr. and Irene McCarthy; Sharon K. McCormick; Terry McKay; Daniel and Carolyn McKenzie; Terry McLaughlin; Olivia Malamphy; John and Jeanne M. O'Connell; Auldon and Joanne Parker; Lori A. Pattel; Daryl Pluskota; Dave and Kathy Powers; Dan Reedy; Phillip, Terrance, Michael Riley; Timothy Shawlin; Lee Schnetz; Tom Thompson; Terry Evan Williams.


JULY: 29 memberships up for renewal, 25 paid, 4 dropped for nonpayment.

AUGUST: 87 memberships up for renewal, 55 paid, 1 member moved, 31 due.

SEPTEMBER.: 51 memberships up for renewal, 8 paid, 43 due.

A big round of applause for all the people who worked in the Shamrock Club booth at Irish Fest this year. We signed 57 new memberships, a record for new sign-ups.

-Tom Smith