40th Anniversary Banquet of East Side Irish American Club
According to what we were told by Mr. Kevin McCluskey, President of the East Side Irish American Club (ESIA), over 500 people of all ages turned out for its 40th Anniversary Banquet on Saturday evening, January 27th.
We had a great time eating appetizers, drinking cranberry juice, and dancing to songs provided by "Marys Lane" which is a popular Celtic band.
We also enjoyed reviewing the local happenings with our friend, Ms. Mary Campbell-Stack who has been a member of this club for most of her life. Along these lines, we learned that another friend of ours, Ms. Sheila Crawford will be the Grand Marshall at the 2018 St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Among the speakers was Mr. Brian O'Brien, the Ireland's 22nd Consul General. Mr. O'Brien came to Cleveland from Chicago, where he is stationed. He was also at the City Club on Friday when Ireland's Ambassador Daniel Mulhall spoke there. During his brief remarks at the ESIA, Consul General O'Brien said that he considered it his job to build bridges between Ireland and the Irish community in the United States. Speaking in gaelic, he expressed his congratulations to the Club and its membership for making it to the 40 year mark.
Just as was the case last year (and probably several years preceding), Mr. Gerry Quinn fulfilled emcee duties which included introducing all of the former club presidents who were present including himself since he was the first president to be elected back in 1978. Of course he also asked Mr. McCluskey, the current president, to come forward and said that he believed that the club was functioning well under Kevin.
Reminescently, he recalled the circumstances that lead to the ESIA being created back in the late 1970's and its milestones over the years.
Thankfully, Mr. Quinn was kind enough to lend us his notes so that we could share his advice about the future which is contained in the following statement:
"Those of us that are here tonight from the early days hope and pray that this organization outlives not only us but many future leaders and their ability to craft future programs and activities that will be even better than the last 40 years.
The challenges ahead are many but so also are the opportunities.
When I came to America in 1961 very few of us had a high school education. Today is much different, many of the Irish emigrants today are very educated and well trained in numerous professions so I would suggest we make a concerted effort to seek out and conscript this important segment of Irish America.
If we want to survive and prosper we must be aggressively reaching out to all of Irish ancestry. Irish emigrants believed in raising their sons and daughters to be productive members of society.
That is why you see so many of them as CEO's of major corporations, college professors, doctors, lawyers, tradesmen and etc. We need our tradesmen and women to build and maintain our building and all the wonderful workers who toil with their hands to keep our community prosperous. If we work together to retain our proud heritage, we can inspire another east side revival.
40 years ago, a small but experienced but dedicated ambitious band of Irish Americans set out on what many called an impossible dream. I tell you tonight that the dream is still very much alive."
Mr. Quinn closed that section of the evening program by reciting the poem, "Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" by William Butler Yeats:
"Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half light.
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only the dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC