Columbus Irish – A Shout Out to the Shamrock Club
By: Maureen Ginley
Happy May, OhioIANews readers! Can you believe that we’re almost halfway through 2019? It seemed like just yesterday I was ringing in the new year with $30 worth of tacos, and a Hallmark movie marathon with my dog.
As I look back on the past few months, my heart swells with joy – 2019 has been filled with so many amazing moments – participating in a Guinness Pour Off (I didn’t make it past the first round, but I had fun!), partaking in several exciting trivia nights, and floating down the Avenue with some of my wonderful Ohio Rose Centre friends. One (of many) similar factors in each of the scenarios is that they each somehow involved the Shamrock Club of Columbus.
Since before I even officially moved to Central Ohio, the Shamrock Club has been a part of my life. The week before I moved to Columbus, I attended the Dublin Irish Festival with my friends Grainne and Molly. Knowing I wanted to get involved in the Irish community here, I popped by the Club’s booth and was persuaded to join (memberships were half off, and I love a good deal). It took awhile to really find my footing as a member and get involved, but since I made that plunge, my life has been filled with quiz nights, discussions of how to connect the Irish diaspora across the Midwest, and more. From the sheer kindness I was shown since I approached the booth on that humid August Day, I knew I wanted to represent the Shamrock Club in this year’s Ohio Rose Selection.
As soon as I brought the idea up at the Club, there was a swell of support and many instances of “how can we help?” I received well-wishes and kind messages from officers, fellow members, and friends throughout the entire process, and I felt proud every step of the way to say I was a part of a community that welcomed a Clevelander to Club with open arms.
At one of this year’s Selection events, a judge mentioned that businesses and other
organizations that sponsor Rose applicants place a lot of faith into the young women they sponsor. That got me to thinking about what groups I’ve represented in Rose selections the past several years… first, Casey’s Irish Imports, second – the Ohio Irish American News, and now – the Shamrock Club.
Each year I’ve taken part in this event, I’ve sought out sponsors with whom I can build a relationship, a person or company who emulates what the Irish in Ohio are all about – kindness, spunk, warmth, and so much more. To this day, I stay in contact with my former sponsors, keeping tabs on what amazing things they are up to, and conspiring about possible topics to write about in future OhioIANews articles.
This idea of forming a relationship with my Rose sponsor has stuck with me throughout the years – especially now. When I took the leap to move to Columbus, I was worried about finding a group of people like I had in Cleveland – friends with whom I could go to PJ McIntyre’s with and listen to a Marys Lane or New Barleycorn set, ones who would explain different Irish dance terms to me and attempt to teach me a few moves – even if I fell on my face a few times. I did not find just that in the Shamrock Club. I found so much more.
When I wrote an article about the Club’s second female President a few months back, a word that kept coming up in our interview was “family.” And nearly every time I’ve been at the Club since then, someone else has used that term to describe the people around them.
Members lift each other up and support one another through hard times, and celebrate their successes. They make you laugh with hilarious puns at membership meetings, and they even tag along to your favorite bar in Columbus to hear one of your favorite bands from Cleveland play a set. To put it simply (and to quote Olive Garden’s slogan): “when you’re here, you’re family.”
*Maureen is an MFA graduate living and working in Columbus. She enjoys coffee, spending time with her dog, and all things Irish.