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Emerald Reflections Online

Table of Contents -- September 1998

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

Talking of Windmills
Lenahan Concert
Dane County News
Greater La Crosse Area
Milwaukee President's Message
Milwaukee Picnic
Dunleavy Writes
Irish Fest Archives Receive Substantial Gift
UWM Irish Programs and Tours

Talking of Windmills

Nearly everyone associates windmills with Holland but very few realize that windmills were a common feature of the Ulster landscape over two hundred years ago. One area in particular where they were a common sight was the Ards Peninsula and their picturesque sails and shapes must have been given a real Dutch atmosphere to this part of the country. At that time windmills were in full operation at Ballyholme, Ballyhalbert and Ballycopeland.

With the coming of the machinery and the passing of time the Ballyholme windmills disappeared and later they demolished the one at Ballyhalbert to make way for an airfield during the Second World War. Thank goodness they left us with one and that is the windmill at Ballycopeland near Millisle and what a fine example of a working windmill it is. In fact, you won’t find a windmill like the one at Ballycopeland anywhere else in Ireland for it is kept in an excellent state of preservation as an Industrial Antiquity.

The Ballycopeland windmill was built about 1785 and at the same time many others were being constructed because legislation was passed in 1784 to encourage the growth of corn in Ireland. When this windmill was in full operation it did a steady business for Donaghadee was a thriving port at this time and grain was brought to there from abroad by horse and cart to the mill by local farmers. They made three journeys a day between Donaghadee and Ballycopeland and earned five shillings for the job. Of course, this was considered a very handsome sum in those days.

The Ballycopeland windmill was never used for the grinding of flour and was only used for production of yellow meal, wheaten and oaten meal and oats and braised oats. For quite a number of years it was a family concern for it was owned by the McGilton family who lived close by. They operated the mill for about seventy years until they were forced to give up in 1918. So the windmill lay still and neglected for nearly twenty years and then Samuel McGilton decided to hand it over to a government body for preservation. Thanks to him the windmill has now been pre- served and made operational for everyone to see and enjoy. It is now open to the public most days of the week.

It is one of the best examples of a tower mill and is about 33 feet in height and approximately 22½ feet in diameter at the base. The walls are two feet thick and are made of local Silurian grit. When the sails went round in the wind they turned the millstones to grind the oats.

The roof was designed to swivel round under the action of a fantail so as to keep the sails always in the wind. Hence there are two entrance doors and if the sails obstructed the access to one, the other one could be used. The sacks of grain were brought to the entrance by horse and cart and dragged across the floor to a position under the trap doors in the ceiling. They were then hooked on to a hoist, and lifted through a succession of trap doors to the top floor where the milling process began.

Ballycopeland windmill has now been restored to full working order and is one of the most interesting of our Ancient monuments. It is well worth a visit whether you be young or just that bit older for you’ll enjoy the romance of the sails turning in the wind.

– Bill Pollock, for Ireland’s Own

Lenahan Concert

Milwaukee: “A rare example of total energy ... tight, talented, rollicking... fresh and exhilarating,” is how Irish Edition music critic Jamie O’Brien has described Celtic singer, songwriter, guitarist and bagpiper, Tom Lenahan who brings his internationally acclaimed Celtic rock band, Lenahan, to perform in concert at The Irish Cultural and Heritage Center of Wisconsin on Sat., September 12 at 8 p.m.

The band completed a month long European tour on May 1 that included performing at several prestigious European festivals. They completed a US tour in March that took the band to 21 states in five weeks and are currently on their second US tour of the year which runs through October. It will be followed by another European tour in November. While on their April European tour, the band was signed to the Musikfolk label in the UK and Ireland for their next album, which will be released on Oct. 1, 1998.

Tickets are $10 for reserved/advance seats, $12 at the door. For further information, call the ICHC: (414) 345-8800.

Dane County Shamrock Club News

September 8
Board Meeting, 6:30 p.m.;
Regular Membership Meeting, 7:30;

Our Shamrock Club picnic at Warner Park on July 14th was well attended. The food was plentiful and delicious, as always. A surprise guest, Gerry Eyre, of Dublin, entertained our group along with Rick March and Bob Finley of the Emerald Isle Ceili Band. Gerry singing many of our favorite Irish ballads, as only he can, was an unexpected treat. We would like to thank Maureen McDermott and Ginny Roehl for their time and effort to make the picnic such a pleasant evening.

Gerry Eyre is with his son, Paul, in Columbus, Ohio, but will return to Madison for hip surgery on August 17 at St. Marys. Ed Horkan is now at home and doing very well recuperating from his hip surgery at St. Marys in June.

We are pleased to announce that the entertainment for our September meeting will be Turner Collins. Mr. Collins is a member of the “Far From Home” group and an accomplished musician playing the harp, the concertina, and the tin whistle. For our program he will be playing Celtic Music and we hope you will come and enjoy this very talented artist.

– Margaret Courtney, Scribe

Shamrock Club of Greater LaCrosse Area

An energetic group in the LaCrosse area have incorporated an organization called the LaCrosse / Ireland Friendship Exchange (LIFE). This is a nonpolitical organization stressing the exchange of cultural, professional, business, agricultural, educational, and environmental components of the greater LaCrosse area with a selected city in the Republic of Ireland. In other words, this group is in the process of selecting a “Sister City” in Ireland. Although not a Shamrock Club activity, many of the charter members, as you might suspect, are also Shamrock Club members. They are now in the process of selecting and negotiating with candidate Sister Cities. Sounds like an exciting adventure. President is Larry Germanson, 608-796-1672; Fax 608-784-9274; Email:

We will have a General Club Meeting on Thursday, September 17 at Forest Hills in LaCrosse from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Make your own dining arrangements. The theme is “Half Way to Saint Patrick’s Day.” Our club will be represented in the Applefest Parade in La Crescent by Art and Sharon, our Irishman and Irish Rose, on Sunday, September 20. We will have an Oktoberfest Parade Float decorating party at 6:30 p.m. at the same place in the LaCrosse Industrial Park as last year. We hope that nobody staples their hand to the float as happened last year!

The big Maple Leaf parade will be held in LaCrosse on Saturday, October 3rd and we will be in it!

– Fred Smith

Milwaukee President’s Message

Congratulations to Irish Fest for another successful year. We Shamrock Club members share in the accolades because we represent a significant percentage of the large group of volunteers who work so very hard each and every year to ensure the smooth operation of the festival. In fact, our own Pat Sadowski was honored as the 1998 Irish Fest Volunteer of the Year.

Special thank you to Joe and Catherine Donovan for their extensive efforts returning our Annual Golf Outing to the prominent and lively event it had been in years past. Especially noteworthy is that their hard work was accomplished while Joe was suffering from some pretty severe physical difficulties and pain. Hopefully, those problems and struggles are already just bad memories.

*Annual Picnic – Sunday, September 13
*Celtic Women International's First Annual Conference – Thurs-Sat., October 8-10;
*Volunteers “Thank You” Party – Saturday, October 17.

-- Dale R. Brenon

Milwaukee’s Annual Picnic

On Sunday, September 13 we will be having the Shamrock Club Picnic at Wisconsin Avenue Park on West Wisconsin Ave., Area I. We’ll start the festivities about 2 p.m. (Irish time).

There will be games for just about everyone. We have lots of prizes and fun for everyone. We will also be serving beer, wine, soda and snacks.

We would appreciate if some of you bring grills for us to use. We will provide charcoal while you provide your meat. If you want to bring a dish to pass, we will appreciate it!

Questions? Please call.

– Cate Harris, 321-5153

Gareth Dunlevy Writes

The Following letter has been received from Gareth Dunlevy, who with his wife, Janet, wrote an Emerald Reflections column for several years. He and Janet are both retired University of Wisconsin professors, now living in New Hampshire. The Dunlevys live at 7 Riverwoods Dr., Exeter, New Hampshire 03833. Gareth is a former Shamrock Club Irishman of the Year.

Dear Bob augus an chiarde,

Just finished reading the Reflections for Lunasa. It’s chock full of good news about the vitality of the Irish community of Wisconsin whose students and their parents we came to know and love so many years ago. Janet and I take great pride in the fact that many of those same students laid the foundation for the world-class status of Irish dance, language, music, folklore and genealogy in the state of Wisconsin. Please give all Shamrock Club friends our warmest greetings.

Since our retirement and the publication of our Douglas Hyde biography we have kept busy. Janet continues her brave fight against Parkinson’s Disease and we enlist the prayers of our Wisconsin friends to sustain her in her affliction. I have written two poems, reviews of Lady Gregory’s letters and a review of a new Joyce book that purports to prove that Jimmy took tons of his material for Ulysses and the Wake from the earliest Irish myth and saga. I was recently elected a Phi Beta Kappa Associate, the group of 30 within the national organization that awards and funds the annual PBK prize of $30,000 to an individual who has “upheld the aims and ideals of Phi Beta Kappa.” The 1997 winner was Bill Moyers of Public Radio. I was also recently named a Jonas G. Clark Fellow of Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, the school where I earned my undergraduate degree in 1947. It’s an honor I gladly accepted.

We hope the Shamrock Club gave the County Roscommon team at Irish Fest a real Milwaukee welcome. They were tremendously warm and helpful to Janet and me in the 1970s and 1980s when we researched and wrote the O’Connor papers (University of Wisconsin Press, 1977) at Castlrea and Douglas Hyde: A Maker of Modern Ireland (University of California Press, 1991).

Gareth Dunleavy

Irish Fest Archives Receives Major Gift

John J. Ward, Jr. Irish Music Archives has received one of the country’s largest collection of Irish music, thanks to Michael and Mary Comer of Cleveland, Ohio. The collection was compiled by the Comers as they broadcast The Echoes of Erin radio program on WXEN FM, Cleveland from 1960 through 1985.

The collection consists of more than 5,200 LPs, cassette, reel-to-reel tapes and 45 rpm and 78 rpm recordings, and is an extensive assemblage of music by Irish and Irish-American artists. The original studio, as well as an array of recording equipment, was also donated to Irish Festivals, Inc. All will be housed at the Irish Fest Archives located at the new Irish Fest Center.

“We are committed to preserving this musical treasure and making it accessible to Irish music enthusiasts and scholars,” said Ed Ward. “I think Michael Comer knew that someday this collection would have important historical and cultural significance. He was way ahead of his time.”

UW-Milwaukee presents IRELAND
Fall 1998 and Spring 1999 Programs/Tours

From medieval times to the present, the Emerald Isle has inspired writers, fascinated visitors, and beguiled the uninitiated with its captivating countryside, its wealth of music, art and architecture, its culture and history – an ideal destination for an in-depth cultural experience! The birthplace of good times!

The coordinator, lecturer and tour leader is John Gleeson, who is well-known in the community as a speaker, storyteller, playwright, founder of Milwaukee Irish Arts, and Irish Fest cultural advisor. John, a native of Ireland, has taught in the Department of Film at UW-Milwaukee, and currently lectures in the Ethnic Studies and Linguistics Departments. He was 1993 “Irishman of the Year,” and is numbered among Irish America magazine’s “Top 100.”


These times mark the sesquicentennial of Milwaukee and Wisconsin, the 150th anniversary of the GORTA MOR (Irish Famine), the bicentennial of Ireland’s “Year of Liberty” (1798) and the 1400th anniversary of the death of St. Colmcille (Columba). Some of these events accelerated greatly the emigration out of Ireland, and coincided with major settlement of the Irish in Wisconsin. This year also sees increased efforts involving the U.S. government to bring peaceful solutions to the problems of Northern Ireland. Irish impact on the international world of music, dance, literature, film and theater has never been more evident. It is appropriate, therefore, that we offer a series of related courses and programs during the 1998-99 academic year.


Ethnic Studies 359-250 Se101: Selected Topics in Ethnic Studies: Ireland, The Celtic Tiger. Wednesdays, 6:15-8:55 pm at the Milwaukee Irish Fest Center, 1532 Wauwatosa Ave., Sept. 2 - Dec. 16, 1998. This course looks at the history of the Irish people from the mists of antiquity to modern times.

Linguistics 550-131 Se101: First Semester Gaelic. Mondays, 6:15-8:55 pm, at the Milwaukee Irish Fest Center, 1532 Wauwatosa Ave., Sept. 14 - Dec. 21, 1998. An opportunity to acquire a working knowledge of the wit and wisdom of the world’s most poetic language.

Linguistics 550-231 Se101: Third Semester Gaelic. Tuesdays, 6:15-8:55 pm, Irish Cultural and Heritage Center, 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave., Sept. 8 -Dec. 22, 1998.


Ethnic Studies 359-250 Se101: Selected Topics in Ethnic Studies: Aspects of Wisconsin Irish History. Wednesdays, 6:15-8:55 pm, at Irish Fest Center, 1532 Wauwatosa Ave., Jan. 20 - May 12, 1999.

Linguistics 550-132 Se101: Second Semester Gaelic. Mondays, 6:15-8:55 pm, Milwaukee Irish Fest Center, 1532 Wauwatosa Ave., Jan. 25 - May 10, 1999.

Linguistics 550-Se101: Fourth Semester Gaelic. Tuesdays, 6:15-8:55 pm, Irish Cultural and Heritage Center, 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave., Jan. 19 - May 11, 1999.

Applications and registration information for any of the listed credit programs may be obtained from: Overseas Programs; College of Letters and Science; The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; P.O. Box 413, Holton Hall 253; Milwaukee, WI 53201. Telephone: (414) 229-5879 or toll-free 1-800-991-5564. E-mail:


October 11-18, 1998

Experience a week of exciting new theatre productions of the 39th International Theatre Festival in Dublin, Europe’s City of Culture. Our annual visit includes trips to the unique Burren region of County Clare, the Cliffs of Moher, Clonmacnoise, Galway Bay, Dungaire Castle, and the Cladagh, the Wicklow Mountains, the ancient monastic city of Glendalough, and Newgrange archeological site. There will be time and opportunity for genealogical research, pre-Christmas shopping, fine dining, traditional music sessions, pub crawls, and exploration of Dublin’s historic neighborhoods, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dail, Dublin Castle, Trinity College (Book of Kells), and art museums. The cost of the trip: $1,945. It includes air fare from Chicago, double accommodation, Irish breakfast daily, admissions to museums and sites, a medieval banquet, five theatre performances and much more!

For Dublin Theatre Brochure, write to University Outreach, UWM, Drawer #491, Milwaukee, WI 53293-0491; or call (414) 227-3320.

June 13-23, 1999

Join us as we again go in search of saints, scholars and scoundrels to celebrate the golden age of Celtic achievement. Come, explore the hidden places of mystery and mysticism, the special sites of solitude, solstice and sacred ritual, the holy islands, pattern wells and shrines, as we undertake a unique turas. Experience cosmopolitan Dublin while we view the Cathach – the earliest Irish manuscript attributed to Columcille and the Book of Kells. Then a stop at Kells itself to see the saint’s house and monastic remains. Relax in the “Land of Heart’s Desire” – the Sligo of William Butler Yeats. Discover Donegal and St. Colmcille’s birthplace at Gartan. Enjoy historic Derry founded by the saint and the place of his departure into exile on the island of Iona. Explore Iona, cradle of the Celtic Church and burial place of the great kings of Ireland and Scotland.

Evenings will be filled with the magic of the Celtic muse – folk drama, beatoideas ceol caint agus craic. Observe and learn tradition and lore from long ago and enjoy a conviviality you thought long gone. This is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation with a limited enrollment.

July 2-24, 1999

Looking forward to a summer sojourn of wonder, excitement, learning pleasure? Consider our three-week language and culture immersion program at the Ulster Cultural Institute, Donegal, Ireland, July 2-24, 1999. The Discover Gaelic Ireland programs offers Gaelic language courses at all levels, as well as music, dance, poetry, folklore, hillwalking, and storytelling for a unique cultural experience open to students of all ages!

June 20-July 31, 1999

Students interested in a longer summer stay in Ireland may wish to attend UWM’s six week summer program at the historic Trinity College in the heart of Dublin. The program offers credit courses in history and culture of Ireland, as well as a wide variety of cultural trips, tours and social events.

Spring 1999

Students enrolled in this full-semester program will be able to earn up to 15 credits through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Course work will emphasize Irish (Gaelic) language and culture, Peace and Conflict Studies, plus modules in archaeology, folklore, and museum studies.

Study time will be divided into segments of varying duration between the three locations: Dublin (National University of Ireland), Glencolmcille (The Ulster Cultural Institute), and Derry (University of Ulster, Magee College), with opportunities for internship, fieldwork, applied history workshops and research.

For detailed brochure and application on any of the above programs, call the UWM Overseas Program office, 229-5879; or e-mail: