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Emerald Reflections Online

Table of Contents - December 2003

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

Christmas Days and Dinners

Shamrock Club of Rock County

Shamrock Club of New Dublin Kicks off St. Patrick's Day 2004

Dane County Shamrock Club

Hallamor Concerts: December 13 and 20

St. Patrick's Help Fund

Milwaukee Shamrock Club Christmas Party

Paddy Clancy Scholarship Recipients

Milwaukee Meetings Raffles

Bylaws Committee

Welcome New Members

Milwaukee Calendar of Events

Wisconsin Calendar of Events

Christmas Days and Dinners

by Brian Witt

Bia is deoch i gcomhair na Nollag; éadach nua i gcomhair na Cásca.

Food and drink for Christmas; new clothes for Easter.

I asked Milwaukee resident Tadhg McInerney about the Christmas memory that stayed with him after all these years away from Limerick City, Ireland. After a few moments, he said,"It had to be Christmas Day. We would get up and go to Mass. Afterwards, we would have opened what Santa brought us. There were crackers, pudding, and a Christmas cake. It was a huge feast for us. And for dessert, we would have our brandy pudding. It was soaked with brandy, and the smell would fill the air. Then, my father would pour more brandy on it, and light it. It went up, with a loud 'Whoosh', and a beautiful blue flame would dance above it. Then we pasted brandy sauce on it."

What would Christmas be without food? If ever a day was made to celebrate eating, in Ireland and America, it seems to have been Christmas. And in what has become a tradition for Emerald Reflections in recent years, we will be giving you a number of recipes to use.

Christmas morning in Ireland would be time to break your fast after Mass. And what better way to do so than some early morning Irish Scones?

• 3 cups plain flour;
• 1 teaspoon cream of tartar;
• 1 cup of buttermilk;
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking powder

Stir together dry ingredients and mix lightly with hands. Make a hollow in the centre and add enough buttermilk to make soft dough. Turn onto floured board and knead quickly and lightly until the dough is free from cracks. Roll out until 1/2 cm thick and cut into rounds. Place on greased oven sheet and bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.

As Tadhg had mentioned, the CHRISTMAS CAKE was a part of many families' dinners. Maybe it can become a part of yours. In good traditional Irish style, this is a rich fruity cake with plenty of good Irish Whiskey!

Cooking Time: 3-3 1/2 Hours

• 375g each Sultanas; Raisins;
• 90g each Glace Cherries; Dates;
• 60g each Prunes; Mixed Peel;
• 30g Glazed Pineapple;
• 1 tsp grated Lemon Rind;
• 1 tsp grated Orange Rind;
• 2 Tblsp Lemon Juice;
• 1/4 Cup Orange Juice;
• 1/3 Cup Whiskey;
• 1/2 small Green Apple;
• 30g Walnuts
• 60g Ground Almonds;
• 185g Butter;
• 2 cups Caster Sugar;
• 3 Eggs;
• 1 1/2 Cups Plain Flour;
• 1/4 tsp Nutmeg;
• 1/2 tsp Cinnamon;
• 1/4 tsp Salt;
• 1 Tblsp Whiskey, extra

Remove the seeds from the prunes and chop all the fruit (scissors dipped in water is the easiest way to do this). Combine the chopped fruit, rinds, juices, whiskey and peeled and grated apple -- if you start early enough, store them in a screwtop jar for up to three weeks to let flavours soak into the fruit. Shake the jar well and store in a cool dry place -- this gives the fruit a really rich flavour. Each day turn the jar upside down for even soaking.

On day of baking: line a deep 20cm square cake tin with two thickness' of grease proof paper, bringing paper 5cm above the top edge of the tin.

Chop the walnuts. Beat the butter until soft; add sugar, beating until just combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Put the fruit mixture into a large basin and add walnuts, almonds and creamed mixture; mix well. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients and spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin. To get a smooth surface on the top of the cake, wet a dessert spoon and rub the back of the spoon over the cake mix to smooth it out.

Bake in a slow oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and brush evenly with the extra whiskey, cover with foil and leave until cold before removing from tin. Re-wrap in foil and keep in fridge until required.

Lá Nollag go péacach is Lá Fhéile Stiofáin ag iarraidh déirce.

A showy Christmas Day and begging on the Feast of St Stephan.

Stephen's Day, December 26, would often find people traveling from house to house, looking for treats as they entertained neighbors. As the story of Snick Snack and the King of the Birds is played out, tea and cookies could be served. What could be better than Irish CHRISTMAS COOKIES?

• 1 cup butter, softened;
• 1 cup granulated Sugar;
• 3 large eggs;
• 2 cups all-purpose Flour;
• 1/4 cup Irish whiskey;
• 1/4 cup candied citron, chopped;
• 1/4 cup golden raisins, blanched and chopped;
• 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 F. and prepare two greased cookie sheets; set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar. Beat in the eggs until well blended. Add the flour and the Irish whiskey, and beat the dough until smooth. Add the fruit and nuts, and mix well. Drop cookie dough from a tablespoon onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake each sheet of cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the baking sheets with a spatula while still warm. Place on wire rack to partially cool. Store the cookies in an airtight container with a slice of white bread to maintain their soft, fruity texture.

Boxty on the griddle, boxty in the pan, If you can't make boxty, you'll never get your man.

The lighting of candles in Ireland also has a religious significance. Some people would light candles to signify symbolic hospitality for Mary and Joseph. The candle was a way of saying there was room for Jesus' parents in these homes even if there was none in Bethlehem. Some people even set extra places at their tables as a preparation for unexpected visitors. And what better to serve than that famed northern potato dish, BOXTY?

• 8 oz / 250 g / 1 cup raw potato;
• 8 oz / 250 g / 1 cup mashed potato;
• 8 oz / 250 g / 2 cups plain flour;
• 1 tsp baking powder;
• 1 tsp salt;
• large knob of butter, melted;
• about 1/4 pt / 125 ml / 1/2 cup milk

Grate the raw potatoes into a bowl. Turn out onto a cloth and wring, catching the liquid. This will separate into a clear fluid with starch at the bottom. Pour off the fluid and scrape out the starch and mix with the grated and mashed potatoes. Sieve the dry ingredients and mix in along with the melted butter. Add a little milk if necessary to make a pliable dough. Knead lightly on a floured surface. Divide into four and form large, flat cakes. Mark each into quarters but do not cut right through, and bake on a griddle or in a heavy pan. If liked, more milk and an egg can be added to make a batter which can be fried in bacon fat.

As the McInerneys' are from Limerick, they occasionally would have LIMERICK HAM. To the Irish, ham is a cured leg of pork. Traditionally, Limerick ham is smoked over juniper branches. Whole hams should be steeped in cold water overnight before cooking but this is not necessary with smaller joints. The ham in this recipe is not really baked but rather finished off in the oven after having been cooked by simmering in cider.

• 3-5 lb / 1 1/2 - 2 kg ham;
• cider to cover;
• 1/2 cup brown sugar;
• 1 tsp mustard;
• 20 whole cloves

Cover the ham with cold water and bring slowly to the boil. Throw out the water and replace with cider. Bring this just to the boil and lower the heat, keeping the liquid barely simmering for 20 minutes to the 1 lb / 1/2 kg. Remove from the heat and allow to stand in the liquid for 30 minutes. Take out the ham, skin it and score the fat with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern. Stud with whole cloves. Mix the sugar and mustard and rub well into the surface of the ham. Bake in a pre-heated oven for a further 10 minutes to the 1 lb / 1/2 kg at gas mark 6, 400F, 200C.

Is maith an t-anlann an t-ocras.

Hunger is a good sauce.

And then there is the Christmas pudding. Don't forget the brandy paste. And possibly the fire extinguisher. There is a wonderful Christmas Pudding recipe that Denise Hogan wrote about in the December 2003 Emerald Reflections.

Téann an saol thart mar a bheadh eiteoga air, agus cuireann gach aon Nollaig bliain eile ar do ghualainn.

Life goes by as if it had wings, and every Christmas puts another year on your shoulder.

And if the years aren't on your shoulders, well, it might be time to look for the gym after all the indulgent repasts. Otherwise, those new Easter clothes will be a purchase that has to be made. I hope that your holidays are memorable, and full of family cheer.

Nollaig Shona Duit.

Merry Christmas.

Rock County


• December: Annual Christmas Party, details to be shared via phone.

By golly, I guess we got a late start on making our plans for our Christmas Party as at this writing we do not have all our plans complete. When everything is set, our phone committee will call each member with all of the details.

-- Tom Kennedy

Shamrock Club of New Dublin Kicks Off St. Patrick's Day 2004

Greetings from "New Dublin" (New London) Wisconsin. We ended the summer with our Half-Way Day September 15 at Flease's Resort. We enjoyed traditional corned beef and cabbage, wonderful Irish music and of course the fellowship of our members. Election of new officers for the coming year was also on the agenda. Our new President this year is Larry Katerzynske; new Vice President: Larry VanAlstine; Treasurer: Judi Barrington; Secretary: Judy McDaniel; Parliamentarian: Moochie Barrington; Membership Chairperson: Melissa Mulroy; Parade Director: Jill Hart and Sergeant at Arms: Marge Petit.

We are already busy making plans for St. Patrick's Day 2004. This will be our 20th year celebrating our Irish heritage and we are looking forward to making it bigger and better than ever. Anyone interested in participating in our celebration please contact the New London Area Chamber of Commerce at (920) 982-5822, Pup's Irish Pub at (920) 982-3891 or visit our web site at

-- Carrie Katerzynske

Dane County Shamrock Club

Our general meeting in October featured two members of the "Bravest and Finest Memorial Pipe Band." They played for about an hour and besides the music they gave historical background on the instruments and the uniforms. It was quite interesting and was well received by club members.

We formalized our affiliation with The Saint Patrick's Parade Committee. We have a memo of understanding with them to join ranks and to measure the practical benefits to each club. We will revisit this joint arrangement in June, 2004. There is also some efforts beginning for a possible road race associated with the time of the parade. More to follow on this in subsequent newsletters and Emerald Reflections.

Our November meeting featured a viewing of the PBS produced tape The Road to Bloody Sunday -- How the Troubles in Northern Ireland Began. The tape was 60 minutes long and was very insightful and informative.

Plans for our Christmas Party are on target for Tuesday, December 9, 2003, at the Coliseum Bar on John Olden Drive in Madison. Tickets for adults are $16 each and $8 each for children. We will be featuring the Madison band Stone Ring as entertainment.

Two academics will be featured in our February and April meetings on the troubles in Northern Ireland and unique Irish tourist options respectively.

-- Bob Kerans, President

December Hallamór Concerts

Concert #4
Saturday, December 13, 2003
Concert: 8 p.m.

Regarded by many as the "godfather" of Irish Music, Tommy Makem is also widely known as the latter day "Bard of Armagh". For more than 50 years Tommy has broadened the knowledge of the Irish culture. Tommy has educated while entertaining using the tools always at hand: his banjo, tinwhistle and his magnificent baritone voice. What a fantastic way to teach and to learn! Tommy is the practiced performer incarnate who knows what the audience wants, and gives them that and a little more besides.

Tommy will long be remembered as a songwriter. Several of his songs widely recorded are Gentle Annie, Farewell to Carlingford and the best known, Four Green Fields.

Tommy has researched, written, and recorded a large number of videos, many of them musical with guest artists, others of the "travel" Ireland variety with beautiful background music. A lifelong dream became a reality with Tommy Makem's Ireland, a two-hour special.

Much of his work has been recognized and honored. The University of New Hampshire honored Tommy with a Doctor of Humane Letters. The World Folk Music Association awarded him its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Concert #5
Saturday, December 20, 2003
Concert: 8 p.m.
Opening Act: 7 p.m.

The Poor Clares, from New Orleans, will be back by popular request. They will present their Celtic Christmas Concert, which will entertain and educate with authentic songs, poems and stories from the folklore of the seven Celtic Nations. The Poor Clares, briefly known as Re Mor, will share the results of their years of research, which will explain some of the following: What is the legend of the Irish Wren Boys' You will also definitely recognize the custom that is still practiced today -- the lighted candle in the window.

This is but a tiny segment of some of the enlightening and entertaining material you will hear from "one of America's best Irish groups" according to Dirty Linen magazine. Radio Limerick has high praise for lead singer, Betsy McGovern's voice, when they describe it as "so angelic, she could move mountains." A delightful Celtic Concert not to be missed!

Betsy McGovern: vocals, guitar
Patrick O'Flaherty: vocals (native Gaelic), accordion, mandolin
Justin Murphy: Irish flute, tin whistle, bodhran

Hallamór Concert tickets:
$19, advance, reserved / $21 at the door
Irish Cultural and Heritage
Center of Wisconsin
2133 W. Wisconsin Avenue (414) 345-8800

-- Gwen Sisk, Publicist

St. Patrick's Help Fund

We will have a food collection at our next meeting, Dec. 6, for St. Patrick Parish. We will make as many food baskets as possible. Any and all donations of food or money will be a great help.

St. Patrick's Help Fund needs all kinds of non-perishable foods, and pampers. 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. Questionss Call Katy Voss (414) 352-6479.

Milwaukee Shamrock Club Christmas Party

December Potluck Dinner
Thursday, December 4, 2003
Featuring the music of tomorrow
Potluck Dinner: bring your favorite dish or dessert
Club will provide meat, beer, wine, and soda
Cash Bar also available
Set up 6 p.m. / Dinner 6:30 p.m./ Entertainment 8 p.m.
For information call (414) 321-0958

The Sales Booth will be offering merchandise
For your Christmas Shoppng at the December Christmas Party
Stocking Stuffers from $.50 to $5
10% off on Jewelry, Mulingar Pewter and other selected items.
Other mark-downs available

Paddy Clancy Scholarship Recipients

The Paddy Clancy Scholarship Fund is happy to announce the recipients of the Paddy Clancy Scholarships for 2003-04. They are as follows:

BRIAN HART -- recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with two certificates in Celtic Studies (Cultural Emphasis, and Irish Language Emphasis). He is furthering his studies toward an M.A. degree in Traditional Song Performance at the Irish World Music Center (University of Limerick), Ireland. Brian is the first American to be awarded the All-Ireland Champion Medal in Traditional Singing, as well as being the youngest-ever winner of the competition. He won this prestigious award at the recent Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Listowel, Co. Kerry, earning him the gold medal and O'Dalaigh Shield, adding his name to the trophy alongside the list of notable previous winners such as Joe Heaney, Frank Harte, and Paddy Berry. Brian was also a winner of one of the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin - Milwaukee chapter's scholarships for 2003. He used it for the summer program at the University of Limerick.

ERIN STAPLETON CORCORAN -- third-year Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago. During this summer, she has concentrated on studying Irish Gaelic through the Irish Language Institute of University College Galway. She intends to study at the Irish World Music Centre in Limerick, Ireland, during Spring 2004 to further her research on the topic of Irish language song traditions. Her tutor in sean nos singing and traditional music performance is Lillis O'Laoire, professor at UL, and sean nos scholar. Erin's Master's thesis focused on Milwaukee Irish Fest and Irish Fest Summer School, and she has continued to involve herself in courses in Irish traditional music and dance.

Raffle Raffle Raffle

The Raffles at the Shamrock Club General Membership meetings have been revamped and revised for your viewing pleasure! Come to the Christmas Party and see what you have been missing! There will be 14 baskets for Raffle and a few extra goodies!

Remember, stay tuned to your Emerald Reflections for monthly Raffle updates!

May the Luck of the Irish be with you,

-- Kerry Jo Pfeiffer

Bylaws Committee

A committee will be formed to review Bylaws. I need volunteers for this committee. Any suggestions for bylaw changes please give to the Parliamentarian.

-- Tom Blaha

New Members

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

Membership Report Milwaukee Chapter:

• Sept.: 48 memberships up for renewal, 32 paid, 16 dropped for nonpayment.

• Oct.: 36 memberships up for renewal, 25 paid, 11 due.

• Nov.: 30 memberships up for renewal, 12 paid, 8 due.

Wisconsin vs. Michigan State football game, November 15: Game sold out!

Anyone interested in going to Green Bay Casino or Wisconsin Dells Casino for a day trip please let me know. We would need at least 30 people per trip. I will be getting information soon on cost.

-Tom Smith, (414) 384-4119