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Emerald Reflections Online

Table of Contents - January 2004

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

Trip to Ireland Brings New Family Ties

Shamrock Club of Rock County

Dane County Shamrock Club

Milwaukee President’s Message

Spring Potpourri of Hallamor Concerts

Celtic Women First Friday

Plans Begin for Volunteer Party

ICHC Library Grand Opening

An Ghaeilge Irish Language Class

Shamrock Club Milwaukee Admirals Game

2003 Oireachtas Ressults

Being Irish American Means . . .

St. Patrick's Help Fund

Welcome New Members

Milwaukee Calendar of Events

Wisconsin Calendar of Events

Trip to Ireland Brings New Family Ties

by Mr. and Mrs. William Downey

You asked for some experiences of trips to Ireland and I wish to relate some of the surprises that awaited us on our visit.

I have read some very interesting stories in the past of other peoples’ trips to Ireland, and I thought that you might be interested in our trip. We left the USA only looking to retrace the steps of our ancestors, and visit the beautiful country. One of us found a whole family. His mother passed on when he was little and his father just told him he was Italian. A special bond was made between his Irish family that he found by chance during the trip. They have become very close, visiting each other’s homes since our trip. I thought that this was a story that was worthy to be printed in your publication. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


Four days after the attack on September 11, 2001, three sisters, a brother, his spouse and two brothers-in-law flew into Shannon Airport on the West Coast of Ireland. We had hired a driver so we sat back, relaxed, and started our wonderful journey through Ireland. We began our tour at Bunratty Castle, and, of course, a stop at Durty Nelly’s. On to Limerick, Galway, and Aran Islands, where we rode round Inishmore Island on a pony and trap.

We stayed one night and then boarded a ferry back to the mainland to continue our journey. We visited Killarney, the beautiful Ring of Kerry, kissed the Blarney Stone and saw the place from which our ancestors left their homeland, boarding the ships at Cobh for their long journey. Our travels took us to Waterford where we watched the artisans craft their exquisite, hand-blown crystal. Couldn’t resist a few pieces. Leaving Waterford, we headed up toward Dublin through Kilkenny andTullamore, where our trip got really interesting.

One member of our group, Joe, had a list of ancestral names given to him by a relative here in America. The family was from the area around the town of Rahan in County Offaly. It was decided that we would take a little side trip to that area, with Rahan being so very close to Tullamore. Our first stop was the ruins of an abandoned church and cemetery. A futile search there for Joe’s family name, Poland, led us on to the post office in Rahan.

The Postmistress there said that there were no Polands in Rahan, but she believed that there were some in Pullough, a short distance down the road.

Arriving in that town, we found Gallagher’s pub, and being a bit thirsty by this time, we went in for some refreshment before finishng our search. There were several people having a drink and, almost as an after thought, as we were leaving, one in our group asked if anyone knew the Polands? To our amazement, almost everyone in that place was a Poland! Joe, of course, was ecstatic, as were the rest of us to see him so happy. And all of the Polands there were so happy to meet him, too.

As Joe had lost his mother at a young age, he never had an opportunity to discuss his heritage with her. This amazing encounter was more than he had ever expected. One of his cousins said she lived in the place where his Grand Uncle was born; another said that he could take him to the house where his Great Grandfather lived. All had something to tell him about the family he never knew existed. One cousin named Martin got his accordion out to play for us. We laughed and sang and all had a wonderful visit.

But, our time with Joe’s warm, fun-loving cousins had to end, all too soon. We had an itinerary to follow and so we exchanged addresses and telephone numbers, promising to keep in touch. On we traveled to Dublin, to see Kilmainham Jail, the Book of Kells and all the sites. After two days in Dublin City we were on the road again, stopping to see the sights on the way. We headed north along the eastern coast of Ireland through Belfast, Carrickfergus, and on to the Giant’s Causeway. We stopped in Derry, visiting with a girl who had been a visitor to the USA for a summer some years ago, staying with Joe and his family. Our trip then took us to Donegal where we sang in the pubs and spent the night. Next morning we stopped to see where Belleek is made, then on to Belmullet to visit relatives of another in our group. Westport was next, heading south along the western coast through the magnificent Connemara National Park and the stark beauty of The Burren. We stayed a night in Lahinch where we saw the breath-taking view of the Cliffs of Moher. That evening we visited “Frawley’s”, one of the oldest pubs in Ireland.

The last day of our trip we visited a cousin still living on the old family farm near Carrigaholt, County Clare. A banquet at Bunratty, and a last drink at Durty Nelly’s was the end of our wonderful visit.

With the pain of September 11 still so fresh in our minds, the warmth and kindness of the Irish people was a wonderful, welcoming experience for each of us. We will never forget our visit to the incredibly beautiful place that our ancestors had to leave behind so many years ago. Standing on the very ground that they left, visiting with family, and Joe’s discovery in the little village of Pullough, County Offaly made our trip to Ireland an ever greater joy.

Since our 2001 visit, Joe and his wife have gone back to visit their new-found family, and this last September, Martin, the cousin who played the accordion so well, and his wife came to visit them here in America. Our visit to Ireland created many beautiful memories, but for Joe, a new beginning for a family he never knew.

Rock County


• JANUARY 20 – Regular Membership Meeting, Program: video on Ireland, 7 p.m.

• FEBRUARY 17 – Chili Mix (6 p.m.) and Regular Membership Meeting (7 p.m.)

• MARCH 16 – St. Patrick’s Day Party; 5:30 p.m. Dinner, 6:30 p.m. Entertainment; (no regular meeting)

Thanks to Marge Reed and her family for cleaning up the highway for the Shamrock Club during 2003.

Again this year the Shamrock Club and the Janesville Senior Center are working together on the St. Patrick’s Party, March 16. This will be a corned beef and cabbage dinner at 5:30 p.m. and music by “Casey’s Fancy” at 6:30 p.m. More details in Emerald Reflections next month.

– Tom Kennedy

Dane County Shamrock Club

The club is in the midst of its membership renewal and all members are urged to get their renewals in as soon as possible. The Christmas Party on December 9, 2003, was well attended and featured a money raising raffle and entertainment by the Stone Ring. Our thanks to the entertainers and to the Coliseum Bar for its long standing support to the Dane County Shamrock Club, Inc.

We are conferring with MATC and the Irish Children’s Fund, Inc., for a presentation at our January meeting. More information on this will be in our Newsletter.

It’s official! We will have a 5K road race – The Shamrock Shuffle – on Sunday, March 14, 2003 starting at 10 a.m. Applications will be available soon. We invite state wide members to participate and to stick around for our Irish flag raising ceremony at the Capitol at Noon on that day followed by the Saint Patrick’s Parade at 1:30 p.m.

Doctor Timothy McMahon will give a presentation on the Troubles of Northern Ireland at our February meeting. He is a renowned Assistant Professor of Irish History at Marquette University. It should be very interesting and ties in with some of our recent treatment of the subject matter. Hope all can attend.

– Bob Kerans, President

Milwaukee President’s Message

Ladies and Gentlemen, Shamrock Club members all:

Beannachtai na Nollaig Agat! The Blessing of Christmas to you. Go Me`adai` Dia Do Stor San Athbhliain. May God Increase your treasure in the New Year.

With the coming of 2004, I wish to thank all of the volunteers of this past year for their help in making our events successful. Our most recent event, the 2003 Holiday Folk Fair, was fun, informative, and a great time. Thanks to our chairs, and their assistants, Peter and Fran Dundon, Mike Payne, and Daryl Pluskota for the food booth; Noreen Barclay, our Sales chair; and Mary MacAndrews for her most informative display in the Cultural booth. A special thanks to Shamrock Club Folk Fair chair Chris Pluskota, for stepping in at the last minute, and for baking all those cookies and scones. Our Christmas party was wonderful with great food and desserts, lots of desserts. Kerri Jo Pfeiffer deserves a round of applause for her work. And the Color Guard coordinated a Thanksgiving food donation. The Richards, Stover and Pfeiffer, did a great job.

Don’t forget the upcoming Green Season, with our events on March 13. And with the parade comes the raffle. The second generation Quinlans have taken over the duties from the Barclays. Thanks to Noreen and Frank for all they did these past two years. And sell those tickets. They help support the Shamrock Club scholarship program.

And the Bradley Center needs volunteers. We have a need for people on January 3, 10, 21, and 30. Call Katie Voss at (414) 352-6479 to work.

Again, Happy New Year.

– Joe Hughes

Spring Potpourri of Hallamór Concerts

The ICHC’s Spring Potpourri of Irish Music begins with Cathie Ryan (Feb. 20) who is long referred to as a jewel in the Irish musical crown. Cathie’s vocal artistry is evident as she performs both Irish traditional and original ballads in Gaelic and English. Cathie “sings songs whatever way they want to be sung.”

World famous Irish “Supergroup”, Altan returns to the ICHC (Mar. 4) to open the Green Season with the Celtic world’s finest version of Traditional Music. Previously a sell-out, a word to the wise should be sufficient.

The Green Season continues with Ireland’s Finest Balladeer, Danny Doyle (Mar. 12). As a passionate student of Irish History, his music is performed with a highly recognizable voice that serves as a beautiful instrument. His stage patter is warm, engaging and often hilarious.

The mix of music continues with Celtic Bluegrass by the McKrells (Apr. 23). The highly emotional vocals, fiery picking and energetic fiddling are sure to stir a passion within.

Rounding out this musical potpourri of Irish entertainment, we conclude with Liz Carroll and John Doyle (May 22). To say that this duo electrified their audiences at Irish Fest ’03 is an understatement. Liz with her fiddle and John with his guitar combine to create sounds one could only dream of. Both are masterful musicians who have joined to produce a truly distinctive sound.

All concerts will have an opening act unless otherwise noted. All opening acts will begin at 7 p.m. with the doors opening at 6:45 p.m. The main concert will begin at 8 p.m.

We are truly thrilled with this Spring Season Mix of Irish Music, and are confident you will be also!

– Gwen Sisk, Publicist

Celtic Women First Friday

Jan. 2, 2004 Topic: “Scottish Dance – Have a Fling!” Speaker: Meribeth Waldrop. Meribeth is the founder of the Caledonian Scottish Dancers; certified teacher of Scottish Dance; named Scot of the Year by the Caledonian Society; Founders Award from St. Andrews Society of Wisconsin; ex-bagpiper. 5:30 – 7 p.m. Admission $5 per person. See you there – at the ICHC in Parlor A. Everyone is welcome.

Plans Begin for Volunteers’ Party

The Milwaukee chapter of the Shamrock Club is starting plans for the Volunteer Party. If you were in charge of a Shamrock Club function or on a committee, please forward your list of volunteers (names and complete addresses) to: Sharon Murphy at 8320 W. Bluemound Rd., Suite 213, Wauwatosa, WI 53213 or

ICHC Library Grand Opening

The Grand Opening of the ICHC Library will be during the ICHC Annual Meeting on January 28. An introductory opening will be from 6-7 p.m. on January 8 before the Shamrock Club meeting. The library is on the second floor at the top of the east staircase.

An Ghaeilge Irish Language Class

Learn some basic conversation, greetings, blessings, curses, proverbs, and a whole lot more.

Giota beag blasta! A tasty little bit!

This course, geared for adults and teens will be taught by Seosaimhín Nic Rabhartaigh and Sinéad Pitterle. Seosaí, a native of County Donegal, Ireland, currently teaches Irish at UWM. Sinéad has studied Irish for several years and teaches Irish in the Milwaukee area.

Wednesdays, 7-9 p.m., January 14 – March 3. The Irish Fest Center, 1532 Wauwatosa Ave. (N. 76th St.) Milwaukee, WI. For more information or to register, contact Sinéad (262) 783-4830 sineadn@

Shamrock Club Milwaukee Admirals Game

The Shamrock Club of Wisconsin is having the second annual Milwaukee Admirals Hockey game outing. We will be attending the February 2, 2004 game against the Philadelphia Phantoms. The game starts at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $13 for adults and $8 for children 14 and under. Send your ticket orders (money and number of tickets) to Sharon Murphy at: 8320 W. Bluemound Rd., Suite 213, Wauwatosa, WI 53213. Make your checks payable to: Shamrock Club of Wisconsin.

Bring your friends and show them how much fun the Shamrock Club members have. Let’s make this a grand party.

2003 Oireachtas Results

We would like to congratulate those Shamrock Club members whose children have received honors at the recent Oireachtas held over Thanksgiving weekend in Columbus, Ohio. They are:

Cashel-Dennehy Dancers – Brynn Geraghty (girls under 13 solos, 18th place and mixed ceili under 14, 1st place); Roberta Donaldson (mixed ceili under 10, 5th place).

Glencastle Dancers – Kayla Birmingham (girls under 16 solos, 47th place); Erin Canon (girls under 9 solos, 28th place and girls ceili under 10, 11th place); Kelly Dalton (girls under 10 solos, 46th place and girls ceili under 10, 11th place); Colleen Jaskulski (girls ceili under 10, 12th place); Molly Modlinski (girls ceili under 10, 12th place); Megan Sharp (girls ceili under 10, 12th place); Molly Sharp (girls ceili under 10, 11th place).

Being Irish-American means...

• you swear very well

• you think you sing very well

• you have no idea how to make a long story short

• you are very good at playing a lot of very bad golf

• there isn’t a huge difference between losing your temper and killing someone

• much of your food was boiled

• that which wasn’t boiled was fried

• you spent a good portion of your childhood kneeling

• you’re strangely poetic after a few beers

• you’re poetic a lot

• you will be punched for no good reason

• some punches directed at you are legacies from past generations

• your sister will punch you because your brother punched her

• many of your sisters are Catherine, Elizabeth or Mary… and one is Mary Catherine Elizabeth

• someone in your family is incredibly cheap; it is more than likely you

• you don’t know the words but that doesn’t stop you from singing

• you can’t wait for the other guy to stop talking so you can start talking

• “Irish Stew” is the euphemism for “boiled leftovers from the fridge”

• you’re not nearly as funny as you think you are, but what you lack in talent, you make up for in frequency

• there wasn’t a huge difference between your last wake and your last kegger party

• you are, or know someone, named “Murph”

• if you don’t know Murph, then you know “Flah” or “Mick” or “Mac”

• you are genetically incapable of keeping a secret

• your parents were on a first name basis with everyone at the local emergency room

St. Patrick’s Help Fund

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. 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 – June Ann Belle; Daniel and Renee Devine; P.M. Dale Mackinley; Barbara and Martin Rosewicz.

Membership Report Milwaukee Chapter:

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

• Nov.: 30 memberships up for renewal, 22 paid, 8 due.

• Dec.: 23 memberships up for renewal, 2 paid, 21 due.

-Tom Smith, (414) 384-4119