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Emerald Reflections Online

Table of Contents - July 2003

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

Ladies and Gentlemen, Center Ring - The Irish Circus

Shamrock Club of Rock County

Dane County Shamrock Club

Milwaukee President's Message

Milwaukee Annual Installation Dinner

A Request for Your Stories

Shamrock Club Annual Family Best Ball Golf and Dinner Outing

Milwaukee Shamrock Club Picnic

Shamrock Club Color Guard Pipes and Drums News and Notes

Book Project Seeks Milwaukee Irish Photos

St. Patrick's Help Fund

Welcome New Members

Milwaukee Calendar of Events

Wisconsin Calendar of Events

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Center Ring - The Irish Circus

by Brian Witt

July brings the return of the Great Circus Parade to downtown Milwaukee during the second weekend of each July. The elegant and splendorous circus wagons travel across Wisconsin on a special train from Baraboo to downtown Milwaukee. After a stay at Milwaukee's lakefront, the parade of horse-drawn wagons, circus animals, clowns and other acts circle the downtown in the largest circus parade in the world.

One of the band tableau wagons is from the Royal Hanneford Grand Circus, and is the last remaining wagon from this long-ago Irish circus. The wagon is painted a deep green, and is gilded with gold paint. The woodwork has been repaired and replaced.

The history of the circus in Ireland goes back very far. The story "Tain Bo Cuailnge" describes the fifth century Irish hero Cuchulainn juggling nine apples. A few centuries later Tulchinne, the royal buffoon of king Conaire, is described in "The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel," as juggling nine swords, nine silver shields, and nine balls of gold

Ireland had been the home of a number of circuses, and is still home for a few. Duffy's Circus, Fossett's Circus, Circus Vegas, Dare Devil Circus, and Gerbola's Circus are among the many old-line circuses that are still in operation in Ireland. A few newer acts have sprung up in recent years, mainly with young people who developed an interest in tumbling, juggling and other skills. Families carry on the acts, if not always the names, and you can trace familial lineage back through the sawdust through the centuries.

However, the history of the Irish circus starts with the emigration of an Irishman, Michael Hanneford, to England, where he entertained with his juggling, horsemanship and similar acts, in 1690. Hanneford toured with Wombwell's Menagerie, the first show of its kind in the British Isles. Michael's grandson, Edwin Hanneford, was a foot juggler who performed on London street corners and at fairs. Among the honors bestowed on Edwin was a summons to perform before King George III in 1778, in a contest to determine who was the best juggler in England. Having become preoccupied with other matters during the competition between Edwin and Walter Scott, the King never delivered a verdict.

The Hanneford family first toured as a troupe in 1807. All successive generations of Hannefords performed in some capacity, and by 1903, the family had its own show, the Hanneford Royal Canadian Circus, and was touring the British Isles by horse drawn wagon and performing under canvas. It was from this circus that the Band Tableau wagon came.

During the winters of these early seasons, they would appear with other featured acts at indoor shows on the European continent. While performing in Spain in 1915, the Hannefords were seen by John Ringling, who purchased the entire operation, and moved it to the United States, ending the direct connection of the show to Ireland. The show at the time included family members George, Sr. and Edwin "Poodles" Hanneford. George's son, Tommy, and other members of his family performed the first Hanneford Circus in Wakefield, Massachusetts in 1965, a title incorporated in Macon, Georgia. After that, Tommy began to solicit fairs to showcase the new show and performed the Circus' first major fair in Saginaw, Michigan in September of 1966. This is considered to be the first performance of the modern Royal Hanneford Circus.

In the 1890s, the scenes he witnessed at a traveling circus intrigued Irish artist Jack Yeats. Duffy's Circus, a watercolor, shows the clowns and the background action near the center ring. Yeats painted a series centered around this circus, as the clowns, equestrian acts and other acts fascinated him.

For the past three centuries Duffy's Circus has been amazing audiences throughout Ireland. A Dublin shoemaker, Patrick James Duffy developed a love for foreign circuses visiting Ireland. After learning various circus skills he became a famous acrobat and his son John started his own circus, the John Duffy Circus. John had three sons, John, Tom and James. It was from James that Duffy's Circus developed into what it is today. By the 1870s the Duffy family had an extremely large circus with upward of 250 horses.

Throughout the years the circus has had many names with the changing of generations, the Duffy Family Circus and Duffy's National Circus, but has always used the Duffy name. In 1917 James operated a circus with his sister, the Duffy and McClean's Circus, for a few years before the James Duffy & Sons Circus was born. James died in 1959 and the circus continued to be operated by his wife Lena and sons Jimmy, Johnny, Billy, Tom, Arthur, Freddy and Albert and daughter Lena. In 1971 Lena died, and the circus was carried on by her sons as the Duffy Brothers Circus.

By 1979, another generation of Duffys had been groomed for the ring. Theirs was an extremely large family, so Tom and son David decided to branch out with their own circus. In 1982 the Duffy Brothers Circus ceased and Tom Duffy's Circus has been carrying on the Duffy name ever since. Over the last 23 years Tom Duffy's Circus has grown into one of Europe's finest and most respected circuses.

So, as horses are hitched to the wagons, the clowns and the bands readied, raise a loud cheer when the Irish circus wagon passes by. It is part of a long Irish connection to the smell of grease paint, and the roar of the crowd.

Rock County


• AUGUST 19: Club Picnic

• SEPTEMBER 16: September Meeting

There will be no meeting in July or August. Our Annual Club Picnic will be held at Sweet-Alyn Park in Shoppiere on Aug. 19. It will start at 5 p.m. This will be a pot luck. Bring your own table ware and beverage plus a dish to pass. We will eat at 6 p.m. There is a pavilion so we can have it rain or shine. See you there.

- Tom Kennedy

Dane County Shamrock Club, Inc.


A group of members present at the May Dane County Shamrock Club Meeting included: (l to r) back row, Tom and Judi Barrington, John Gallagher, Colleen Schams, Margaret Rupert and Donna Douglas. Front row: Paul Buckalew, Dave Holtz, and Bob Kerans.


• JULY 8: Shamrock Club Summer Picnic at the KCs clubhouse on Verona Rd., Madison; social hour at 5:30; dinner at 6; entertainment to follow.

At the May meeting new officers were elected: President Bob Kerans; Vice President Margaret Rupert; Past President Paul Buckalew; Secretary and Editor of the Newsletter Pat McCarthy; Associate Writer Sue Morrison; Treasurer Harry McCarthy; Membership Chair Colleen Schams; Trustees Megan Sisson and Pearl Kau (Senior Trustee), Parliamentarian Alice De Marb and Sergeant-at-Arms Cheryl Sullivan. You can meet the new officers at the July picnic. The co-presidents, Paul and Colleen, have been instrumental in the transitional process for the new officers.

Something new for our Club is giving half-price membership to those who join after June. All memberships are renewed once a year in December for the following year at full price. As a result of this new procedure, we have the financial resources in hand that help us to plan events for the coming year. Plus, we now have a monthly newsletter that enables the officers and members to know what is happening in the Club.

The Shamrock Club State Advisory Meeting in LaCrosse in May was an exchange of many good ideas. We find these quarterly meetings refreshing and beneficial to our Club. The next state meeting is going to be at Milwaukee Irish Fest in August. The August entry of this column for Emerald Reflections will be by the new officers.

A special thanks to Gail Coss for her help to Paul Buckalew and Colleen Schams - co-presidents - during the past two years. Brian Witt, the editor of the Reflections, was also a help to us during our strenuous times at the start of our terms.

A heartfelt thanks also to all our friends and members of the Dane County Shamrock Club. Over the past two years, the Club gained in members, affiliated with the Madison St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee, and increased the quality of entertainment at the Club's events.

As always:

To wish you the luck o' the Irish, begorra!
Not just for today, but for every tomorra!!

- Co-presidents: Paul Buckalew and Colleen Schams

Milwaukee President's Message

Ladies and gentlemen,
Shamrock Club members all,

The 4th of July is right around the corner and you can watch your Shamrock Club Color Guard Pipes and Drums marching to represent us in Menomonee Falls, Glendale or Brown Deer. Come see us celebrating our Nation's birthday.

The July meeting has been scheduled for the Tenth, our meeting will be held in the air-conditioned upstairs hall and will also feature the installation of our club's new officers and directors. Come congratulate our new board with a wonderful dinner and just a wee bit of pomp and circumstance. Stay around and discover plans for an even more special year for the Shamrock Club, and thank those volunteers who have served us so well during the past year.

Remember... you too can become more active and have a definitive voice when you volunteer for any one of the many annual events that our Shamrock Club participates in throughout the year. Just call any of your club's officers or directors. Good opportunities are still available for Irish Fest, the Picnic, the Color Guard Pipes and Drums, Folk Fair, our Honoree Dinner, and the Bradley Center.

The June meeting saw several changes in the Club's Bylaws and re-publication will be taking place soon. Copies will be made available at our August 7 meeting.

The picnic will be an even larger event than last year. New entertainment, new games, new food choices, same free beer, and the best time of the summer before Irish Fest.

Installation Dinner, Picnic, Irish Fest... what a wonderful summer we can share with each other and celebrate.

- Joe Hughes

Milwaukee Annual Installation Dinner

Thursday July 10, 2003
ICHC 2133 West Wisconsin Avenue
Upstairs Air Conditioned Hall
Dinner 6:30 p.m. Installation 8 p.m.
This year's event will be a buffet dinner • Free Beer • Cash Bar
Cost $12 per person
Call: Jim Dickmann (262) 377-2601
Reservation Deadline: July 2, 2003

Print 2003 Shamrock Club Installation Dinner Reservation Form
(Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view and print golf registration form)

A Request For Your Stories

A while ago, I asked for people to proffer up tales of travel to Ireland. Matt Larsen recounted Chad and Kim's wedding. Richard Scanlan told of finding a fity year old coin at his family farm and wondered if his parents had dropped it. Well, again, I am asking for tales of travel to the Emerald Isle. They will be published in a future edition of Emerald Reflections. Short, about 150 words, to long, 750, or that of the front page, would be wonderful. It also allows me not to have to research and write for a month. (Have you ever heard the term "writer's block"?)

As I wrote the last time, "A trip to Ireland for many of us has been a source of stories that we have recounted over and over. The land, the people, and the trip itself will often replay in our memories. Ireland always leaves us with stories. It seems to be part and parcel of the journey. Sometimes, they are long yarns. Other times, they are just short vignettes." If you have a story inside you that is causing you to almost burst, share it. Others love to hear them. And you can point to the place on the internet where you are published. That, and grab a handful of Reflections after the article is printed.

Richard and Matt's sagas are retold at

If you want to share your tale, or tales, email me at, or mail them to Brian Witt, Shamrock Club, 2133 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53233. Or drop them in my mailbox at the ICHC.

- Brian Witt

Shamrock Club of Wisconsin
Annual Family Best Ball Golf
and Dinner Outing

Sunday, August 24, 2003
Edgewater Golf Club, Grafton
(I-43 north to Hwy 60, west 1.7 miles to 12th Avenue,
right 1.4 miles to Cedar Creek Road, left to coarse)
Individual Awards - for longest Drive, Longest Putt, and
Closest to the Pin - for MEN AND WOMEN!
(One Individual winner per award)
Door Prizes, "Money Hole" and Putting Contest
Golf will begin at 1 p.m.
Carts Included
Cocktail Hour: 4:30-5:30 / Buffet Dinner: 5:30-7:00 /
AWARDS to be presented during dinner.

Print 2003 Shamrock Club Golf Outing Registration Form
(Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view and print golf registration form)

Milwaukee Shamrock Club Picnic

Live at the Lake Front
Lake Park: Picnic Area #6
AUGUST 10, 2003 • NOON til 6 p.m.
(Lincoln Memorial Drive at Kenwood Avenue - Milwaukee)
Free Miller Genuine• Draft and Miller Lite
Free Refreshments • Free Soda • Free Entertainment
Free Guinness Starting at 3 p.m. • Free Hot Dogs and Hamburgers
Irish DanceExhibitions • Join in sessions with local musicians
Games for kids from 1 to 93 years old
Free Shuttle to Milwaukee Hurling Games at McKinley Marina
For Information call: (414) 358-0408

Color Guard News and Notes

"With Pride and Honor"

The Shamrock Club of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Color Guard, Pipes and Drums will now begin to embark upon their most challenging section of the 2003 parade schedule.

After participating in return performances in the Highland Games, held June 7 in Milwaukee and the Waubeka Flag Day parade in Waubeka on June 8, the Unit will be making six parade appearances during the month of July. On July 3 at 7 p.m. you can see the group at the Menomonee Falls 4th of July Parade, the 4th of July, parades in Glendale at 10:30 a.m. and Brown Deer at 1:30 p.m. have been confirmed. July 12, South Shore Water Frolics Parade at 11 a.m. is next up on the schedule and the Color Guard Pipes and Drums will conclude their July performances with parades at the South Milwaukee Heritage Days on July 26 at 11 a.m. and July 27 at the Dousman Derby Days parade beginning at 11 a.m. We hope you will come out and support your Color Guard, Pipes and Drums!


JULY 3: Menomonee Falls 4th of July Parade, 7 p.m. (Thurs.)

JULY 4: Glendale 4th of July Parade, 10:30 a.m. (Fri.)

JULY 4: Brown Deer 4th of July Parade, 1:30 p.m. (Fri.)

JULY 12: South Shore Water Frolics Parade, 11 a.m. (Sat.)

JULY 26: South Milwaukee Heritage Days Parade 11 a.m. (Sat.)

JULY 27: Dousman Derby Days Parade, 11 a.m. (Sun.)

AUG. 2: Sheboygan Brat Festival, tentative, TBA (Sat.)

AUG. 15: Milw. Irish Fest, 7 p.m. (Fri.)

AUG. 16: Milw. Irish Fest, 4 p.m. (Sat.)

AUG. 17: Milw. Irish Fest, Mass 9 a.m., Parade 4 p.m. (Sun.)

AUG. 24: Muskego Fest, 11 a.m. (Sun.)

AUG. 30: St. Francis Days, 11 a.m. (Sat.)

SEPT. 1: Janesville Labor Day Parade, 1 p.m., (Mon.)

Please come to the performances! Your support of your Color Guard, Pipes and Drums is not only invaluable, it means a lot!

Would you like to share and experience the "Pride and Honor" of representing your Irish Heritage and membership in the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin? Well... you can! As a banner carrier, Color Guard member, bagpiper or drummer. Are you interested in having the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin Color Guard, Pipes and Drums perform in your community's parade / festival / event or at a special family gathering? You can! Please contact for further information :

Richard Pfeifer, Director
Shamrock Club
Color Guard, Pipes and Drums
Telephone: (414) 769-1250

- Richard Stover

Book Project Seeks
Milwaukee Irish Photos

Photographs of Irish in Milwaukee are being sought for a collaborative book project between The Irish American Post and Arcadia Publishing of Charleston, S.C. All sorts of photos are requested for use in Irish Milwaukee, as part of Arcadia's Images of America series. Images taken at weddings, family gatherings, fancy balls, baptisms, First Communions, parades, businesses, military services, politics, churches, schools, songfests, pubs and any other photographs with an Irish-theme or personality are being requested, said Martin Hintz, publisher of The Irish American Post. "We are looking for very old photos, from as far back as we can into Milwaukee's history, in addition to more contemporary pictures," he said.

Hopefully, people in the pictures will be identified, Hintz indicated. All photos used will be credited to the families submitting them. Approximately 180 prints will be used.

Submissions can be sent by mail to The Irish American Post, 301 N. Water St., Milwaukee, Wis. 53202 or by e-mail scans in large format jpegs to For more information, call (414) 273-8132. All pictures will be returned. A deadline of June 20 is requested for submitting pictures. Publication is set for this autumn.

A story on Arcadia's Irish Chicago by author John McLaughlin can be seen in the March, 2003, issue of The Post (

St. Patrick's Help Fund

St. Patrick's Help Fund needs all kinds of non-perishable foods, pampers, men's clothes (especially men's trousers), wind breakers, crayons and paint books. St. Patrick's food pantry is empty. They really need non-perishable foods. Please place in container at each meeting. However, donations can be brought to the ICHC any time during the week. It is not restricted to just meetings. A big thank you to everybody who has contributed to help the needy people at St. Patrick's. 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.

MILWAUKEE - Steve and Anne Bode.

Membership Report Milwaukee Chapter:

• April: 49 memberships up for renewal, 39 paid, 10 dropped for nonpayment.

• May: 36 memberships up for renewal, 26 paid, 10 due.

• June: 32 memberships up for renewal, 4 paid, 28 due.

WISCONSIN FOOTBALL: Please let me know soon so I can start a list of people who would be going to Wisconsin's game against either Ohio State Oct. 11 or Purdue Oct. 18 which is Wisconsin's Homecoming game.

- Tom Smith
1107 S. 26th St., Milw., WI 53204
(414) 384-4119