Columbus Irish: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Columbus Irish: The Most Wonderful Time of Year
By Andrew Shuman

It’s like the Superbowl, the Kentucky Derby, and Christmas all wrapped into one big “Green Season.”  From January through March, Central Ohio begins its build-up to St. Patrick’s Day.  By the time our special day arrives, a Christmas-like anticipation has built among the Super Bowl sized crowd awaiting the Derby-esque pageantry.  Until then, the local organizations will be busy with their preparations. 

Green Season includes music performances, breakfasts, competitions, and honoring our members for their contributions.  The Ancient Order of Hibernians, Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, and Daughters of Erin have all named their awardees.  Last month the Shamrock Club named their honorees.  President Karen Komatsu echoed the sentiment of many past presidents when she said this was the best thing the President gets to do.  When it came time to decide, Karen selected the following members for this year’s honors:

Irish (Wo)Man of the Year – Mary Grady Strickland
Parade Grand Marshal – Patrick Byrne
Members of the Year – Colleen Collins, John & Tracee Collins and daughter Kira Collins

L to R – Patrick Byrne, John Collins, Tracee Collins, Kira Collins, Colleen Collins, President Karen Komatsu, Mary Grady-Strickland

Clann na nGael
Central Ohio’s “One Family Irish” hosted their annual dinner on February 4, 2023, at the Embassy Suites in Dublin, Ohio.  Members of the local Irish community gathered to recognize their organization awardees for the year and pay special tribute to a Clann na nGael honoree. 

This year it was Francis and Hilda Doyle.  Each have contributed to the Irish community in a variety of ways, but together they are known as one of Central Ohio’s best Irish couples. Francis is a Past President of the Shamrock Club and has served several organizations on their Financial Committees. 

Hilda is best known as the leader of the musical group The Ladies of Longford.  She and her daughters Stephanie and Heather make up three quarters of one of the area’s most popular musical groups.  In addition to music, Hilda has lent her artistic talents to the Shamrock Club and other organizations. The evening also included a basket auction, a dance performance by The Dwyer School of Irish Dance, and after dinner music by Shamrock Sounds.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
One of the perks of being President of the Shamrock Club is designing the parade badge. The St. Patrick’s Day parade is organized by the Shamrock Club and funded by the Club and their supporters; the city does not provide financial support. 

One way to accomplish this is through the sale of parade badges.  For forty-two years, the President has designed this keepsake which may represent a historical anniversary, Irish landmarks, or just a bit of “craic.”  The 2023 badge, designed by President Karen Komatsu, has personal meaning: she intertwined the Irish Rowan Tree (The Tree of Life) with a Japanese Cherry Blossom tree, to symbolize her shared heritage.

She also commented that it was when she joined the Irish organizations that she found a purpose and “life.” A small green ribbon below the tree represents Kidney Disease Awareness. Last year, Karen gave the gift of life when she graciously donated a kidney to friend in need.

All together, it makes a beautiful addition to the past badges.  To get yours, visit the website at or call the office at (614) 491-4449.


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