38th Anniversary Celebration of Irish American club East Side
On Saturday, January 16th, we went to the Irish American Club East Side (I.A.C.E.S.) on Lakeshore Avenue in Euclid for their 38th Anniversary Party. Our friend Linda Burke told us that there were approximately 300 people in attendance and the newly-remodeled facility was quite full. We socialized with several people who love going on the bus trip that the I.A.C.E.S. offers each fall. In the past it has taken them to such places as Nashville, New Orleans, Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Branson, Missouri. Each year at this annual party the destination for the I.A.C.E.S. all bus trip is announced so they were anxious to find out what is so they could perhaps sign up for it. We met a man who recalled that Margaret W. Wong and Associates had helped a staff member of the Kirtland Country Club who had had a situation regarding his immigration status. We also met Ms. Dorothy Grady who recalled that years ago her daughter, Ms. Mary Grady assisted Ms. Margaret W. Wong at her office. She wanted us to convey to Ms. Wong that her daughter had become a nurse a Lake Health and was now the mother to two young boys.
There was some fine Irish music provided by a band named Mary's Lane and we had a good time dancing to most of it in our own style. When the more traditional Irish dances were played we cleared the floor, however, and watched in awe as people who had obviously been practicing them for years had their turn. When it came time for the short program, everyone applauded Ms. Mary Alice Fitzgerald Curran for heading the committee responsible planning the evening. Our friend Mr. Gerry Quinn, first and former president of the I.A.C.E.S., took over the program and called up all of the past presidents (including our very good friend Ms. Debbie Hanson of Clevelandpeople.com) to be acknowledged.
Mr. Quinn talked about the history of the I.A.C.E.S. which was formed back in in the beginning of 1978 in order to, according to its website, "promote Irish heritage as a family organization, and to sponsor social, cultural, educational, athletic programs for its members." Membership grew and the Euclid Avenue location was dedicated in January, 1982. We didn't realize it but prior to the I.A.C.E.S. there had been only one other Irish American club in the United States and that was in San Francisco. The clubs in Chicago and New York were founded after the I.A.C.E.S.
Mr. Quinn talked about his own experience as an Irish immigrant who journeyed to the United States in 1961 emphasizing how proud he was to be an American and how proud he was of his Irish heritage. He said that he was very glad that there were several generations of families here at the club tonight because it gave him hope that the young people would work to preserve and maintain the Irish culture.
Later on it was announced that the 2016 bus trip would be to Canada where Toronto, Montreal and Quebec would be on the itinerary. Of course most of the people that we talked to earlier gathered up the new reservation forms and quickly filled them out.
It was a fine evening and, as Mr. Quinn said in a toast, it seemed like it had been "a glorious 38 years" and we look forward to the 39th!
The weather on Sunday, January 17th, was quite snowy and unsettling in the Cleveland area and we were tired from having to drive to North Perry (much more snow than Cleveland) and back to see a friend. Nevertheless, in the I.A.C.E.S. "Schanachie" (newsletter) we had read that there would be a concert that evening at the Music Box Supper Club down in the Flats for the benefit of the RISE foundation which is an organization in Ireland whose mission is "to support families impacted by a loved ones addictive behavior through awareness. education and therapy, and to combat the associated shame and stigma."
It seemed like it would be well worth our time to attend so once more we braved the icy streets and drove over there where we were greeted by Mr. Jack Kilroy, who organized the gathering, and his wife, Ms. Suzana Figueira. We learned that the RISE Foundation was founded by the noted Irish singer and human rights advocate Ms. Frances Black who would be appearing here tonight along with her talented daughter Ms. AoifeScott (also a singer), Ms. Liz Carroll (who plays the Irish Fiddle), dancers Ms. Rebecca Brady and Mr. Patrick Campbell, along with The New Barleycorn, a delightful Irish duet that we have seen perform several times.
As it turned out, we were just about the first party to arrive so we got to have some coffee and visit for a while with a young man named Chris who was assisting The New Barleycorn with its sound levels. We talked to Chris about the services provided by Margaret W. Wong and Associates and the need for comprehensive immigration reform.
Soon the people started to arrive and we were assigned a set next to Mr. John O' Brien, Jr.; co-founder, co-publisher,and editor of the "Ohio Irish American News"; who agreed with us that the turnout, despite the weather, was most impressive and took in members of the Irish American Clubs of both the East and the West Sides. In fact we saw several people from the I.A.C.E.S. who we had seen the night before at the 38th Annual Anniversary Party.
During the concert, Ms. Black spoke with passion about the RISE Foundation which was established in 2009 and has helped an estimated 3500 people. We thoroughly enjoyed the Irish music and were glad that we had decided to attend even though our day of driving in the snow had been particularly intense. Thus, we were quite inclined to agree with Ms. Brown when she said from the stage, "singing is good therapy and makes you feel good afterwards."