The winter solstice is behind us and the ceremonial transition from darkness to light has begun. Central Ohio began its transition Scarlet & Gray to Green as we prepare for our annual Irish celebrations. The transition begins with election of new officers, honoring community members, and planning for St. Patrick’s Day.
Greater Columbus Irish Cultural Foundation (GCICF)
On December 9, after a two-year layoff, the GCICF hosted their annual Irish Christmas dinner at the State Capitol. Our host and Foundation Chair, Ed Gaughan, was pleased to present this year’s honorees, Bob and Mary Ginn Ryan. Bob is a fourth-generation owner/operator and the President of the Egan-Ryan Funeral Homes. Mary Ginn, according to Bob, is the Owner and General Manager of their family of eleven children and fourteen grandchildren.
The Ryans were chosen for their devotion to faith and family and their lifelong contributions to the Irish community and beyond. One such contribution was the founding of Special People in Catholic Education (SPICE), which provides support for children with special needs and has been adopted by many parish schools. Attendees celebrated with a performance by the Shamrock Club Pipes & Drums before dinner, the duo Killashandra while enjoying an Irish themed meal, and were treated to dessert with dancing by the Irwin Academy of Irish Dance.
The GCICF was founded in 1989 to provide funding for and to support appreciation for Irish culture, history, and traditions. The Foundation has contributed to a variety of community activities through the years, including dance scholarships, music events, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Irish Life Experience, the annual Proclamation Day charity donation, and a grant to the Columbus Museum of Art for the purchase of a sculpture created by Irish American Sculptor John Bernard Flannagan. The GCICF also sponsors an annual fall road bowling event.
AOH, Patrick Pearse Division
The Patrick Pearse Division transitioned from old to new as they installed new officers on December 3. Members attended mass at historic St. Mary church in German Village before returned to Tara Hall for the installation ceremony.
Congratulations to the new officers, President Bruce McPherson, Vice President Bryan Horn, Financial Secretary Dan Fitzpatrick, Marshall Jerry Tracy, Recording Secretary Kurt Wolf, Sentinel Mike Cosgrove, Treasurer Greg Brown, and Standing Committee Chairman Rich Finn.
The Division concluded a successful year with a $1.000 donation to St. Ladislas St. Vincent DePaul Society and a $1,600 donation to the National AOH Freedom For All Ireland Fund.
LAOH, Countess Markievicz Division
The Ladies would also like to congratulate their new officers for 2023: President Lisa O’Connell-Paccioretti, Vice President Katie Somers, Recording Secretary Christina Motika, Treasurer Megan Kelly, Financial Secretary Cathy Sullivan, Historian Mary Driscoll, Missions and Charities Chair Beth Motika, Catholic Action Chair Brenda Golden, Mistress of Arms Janell Brown, and Sentinel Karen Finn. Cathy Sullivan was named the Member of the Year.
Charity and fundraising have been central to the Ladies’ efforts this year. In addition, donations to their LAOH charities, they celebrated the holiday’s with their annual cookie sale and a sock drive for a local organization.
Preparations for St. Patrick’s Day began early this year. Tickets and table sales for the Irish Family Reunion began in December. Hundreds of families and friends will gather at the Greater Columbus Convention Center following the annual parade to renew acquaintances, share stories, and enjoy music and dancing throughout the afternoon.
There will be plenty of activities in preparation before that. January will begin with the annual Past President’s luncheon. The luncheon is a time to honor those who have led the Club and the current President will provided an update on the State of the Club.
Sadly, this year we will be without two of our past leaders, George O’Donnel (1982) and Michael Moriarty (1968). George was a man of many interests, and once made the local papers when he took a Jaguar XKE for a test drive which resulted in a record setting speeding ticket (132), which was only recently broken.
Michael Moriarty became the youngest president in Club history at the age of 29, and he had been a fixture ever since. Michael and his family have chaired the St. Patrick’s Day Parade for over fifty years and he rarely missed a Club event. Michael was always singing with the musicians, especially the rebel tunes. Anyone interested in tickets to the Reunion or a table can contact the Shamrock Club at www.theshamrockclubofcolumbus.com.
The entire community will gather in February as the Clann Na nGael to recognize all the annual honorees from the Irish organizations. There will be weekly music and events, so check out the organizations on Facebook or online, and join us when you are in town. Until next time, “May the saints protect you, and sorrows neglect you.”