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Irish club celebrates sixth year

Created date

February 23rd, 2010

A club of great love and respect for all things Irish, the Irish Club at Ann s Choice attracts 60 members to its monthly meetings. Pat McNally started the club six years ago, soon after she moved to Ann s Choice, because she wanted to share her interest in the history and culture of Ireland. Also a member of the German Club, she is three-quarters Irish and one-quarter German. The passion and love for culture and heritage is something that all the members of the Irish Club both embrace and share.

The business of the Irish

At the Irish Club s monthly meetings, members discuss the business of the group. An independent entity, it has minutes, a secretary, and a treasury. Members pay dues $5 per year that go toward events, and the leftover monies are donated to different charitable organizations within the Ann s Choice community, like the Benevolent Care and Scholars Funds. The monthly meeting starts with the reading of the minutes and the report on the size of the treasury. But after that, it s all play. They are Irish, after all! They ll watch videos on Irish history, like the PBS series Irish in America. They also connect to their own Irish experiences members who have been to Ireland will show pictures, and a member who grew up there shares her experiences. They discuss the language, politics, history, geography, culture, and arts. They ve even enacted excerpts from James Joyce s writing.

The love of heritage

In October 2009, the Irish Club took a trip to Center City, Philadelphia, to tour the Irish Memorial Monument; after, they had lunch at an authentic Irish pub. The memorial commemorates the famine of 1845 that caused Ireland to lose 25% of its population through both death and emigration. The three-million-dollar bronze statue was opened to the public in October 2003 and stands in Penn s Landing, paying tribute to the more than one million people who lost their lives during the Great Famine and the more than one million diasporic immigrants who settled in the United States. The Great Hunger, or An Gorta M r, happened when a disease ravaged the potato crops that one-third of the population relied on for food. When the Irish Club toured the memorial, it was a gray day; mist and rain fell from the sky. We felt like we were actually in Ireland, McNally says. It was a humbling experience.

The luck of the Irish

On St. Patrick s Day, the Irish Club will watch Celtic Thunder, a film made up of professional Irish singers, dancers, and musicians. They ll have a sing-a-long and watch local, authentic Irish dancers perform. They ll also have the Wearing of the Green contest, where members and non-members alike compete for the most original costumes. People usually wear green wigs and outfits; men will even dress like true Irish gents. The most unique outfits get a green carnation and a prize, which includes Irish beer or teas for those who don t partake in alcoholic beverages, McNally says. Why do people wear green? Many people, regardless of heritage or nationality, wear green on St. Patrick s Day. McNally says there are several reasons. One is because it s patriotic; another is because if an individual were to fly over Ireland, he or she would see the many different shades of green that reflect the beauty of the countryside. Green is also the color of hope or the heart, and the Irish are a people who have endured. Not only the famine, but after settling in America, they put up with much animosity there used to be signs in shop windows saying, No Irish Need Apply. Today, however, the face of Irish pride is strong and beautiful. Ann s Choice is a place where people of all different heritages can come together in unity to celebrate and honor life. They plan to do just that at the St. Patrick s Day festivities, starting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17, 2010.