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Harp Strings

The Official Newsletter of the Harp & Shamrock Society of Texas Volume 45


October 2010-January 2011

Issue 1

Welcome Your New Board

ay hello to the newest incarnation of the Harp and Shamrock Board of Directors. We are entering our 45th year. The four new directors and officers were installed on Friday the 24th September at Little Italy restaurant. Past president Anton Hajek did a commendable job of reading the charges and swearing in the newly elected officers and members of the board. New directors are Brenda Tobey, Erin O’Brien, John Smith and Steve Mattick. Immediate past president Joan Moody handed off the beautifully carved Claddagh Presidential wood carving to the incoming president Terence Peak. Terry has been a long time member and you can read his first presidential article on page 3. We were very fortunate to have the 2010 Texas Rose of Tralee, Adrienne Hussey who helped hand out the door prizes. She will be competing for the International Rose of Tralee in August 2011. You can get more information at: Our next big get together will be for the Awards Banquet. That is our grand start to the March events. The banquet will be Saturday the 19th of February at 6 p.m. Location is the Los Barrios Mexican Restaurant at 4223 Blanco Rd.

The 2010-11 Harp and Shamrock Society Board of Directors Back row: Dana Goodman, Richard Donovan, Steve Mattick, Darryl Britten, John Smith, Terence Peak, Rev. William McNamara, Patricia Lopez, Bob Burke, Kevin Dowd and Carolyn Dowd. Front row: Joan Moody, Elissa O’Brien, Melinda Britten, Pat Peak, Melissa Schulz, Brenda Tobey and Erin O’Brien. Board members not pictured: Diana Jordan and Bill Merriman.








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PRESIDENT Terence Peak 210-829-3920 VICE PRESIDENT Kevin P. Dowd 210-845-4424 2nd VICE PRESIDENT Pat Peak 210-545-1633 TREASURER Patricia Lopez 210-778-4416 SECRETARY Dana Goodman 20-219-7356 CHAPLAIN Fr. McNamara 210-635-8539 BOARD of DIRECTORS Melissa Schulz 210-445-2777 Melinda Britten 210-699-8632 Carolyn Dowd 210-896-1598 Darryl Britten 210-215-9952 Diana Jordan 210-872-7092 Bob Burke 210-534-6648 Elissa O’Brien 210-348-6877 Steve Mattick 210-212-7800 Joan Moody 210-656-2666 Erin O’Brien 210-348-6877 John Smith 210-240-7736 Brenda Tobey 210-523-0761 Bill Merriman 210-259-3482 IRISHMAN OF THE YEAR Richard Donovan - 2010 Editor in Chief Kevin Patrick Dowd The Staff:



Joan Moody Terry Peak John McCarthy Pat Peak Eileen Faught Carolyn Dowd Melissa Schulz Mariee Pilkington

©2010 Dowd Ranch Publishing

Your Gaelic lesson: Go raibh síochán na Nollag agus Bliain Nua faoi shéan ‘s faoi shonas ort ‘s ar do mhuintir! May the peace of Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year be with you and yours! A wee bit more gaelic:


Association, gathering, brotherhood Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann: Gathering of Musicians of Ireland (For more on the 60th Anniversary of CCE go to page 6)

From the Laptop  of Your Editor A Happy and Healthy New Year to you all. Please forgive the lateness of this issue. I was caught in a perfect storm of a self publisher: no time. Fences down, cows in the veggie garden, bobcats testing the chicken coop and the constant threat of coyotes. Plus the holidays were fast approaching. Where does the time go? Well I’m back. The fences are mended, new gates installed and the coop is holding. To tell the truth I only had a few calls looking for an issue. Was everybody taking off this holiday? Hum? The call went out in this spot in the last newsletter for anyone interested in helping revive the phone committee. Only one member answered my call. So that issue is done. We have March fast approaching but we are already pretty well on our way to covering all the bases. We can always use some extra help and it would be nice to see some new faces. March is also busy with San Antonio hosting the North American Convention of the Irish Traditional Musicians Association. It is the 60th Anniversary of Comhaltas Ceoiltoiri Eireann(see above). It will be held at the Hilton Airport Hotel, March 24-27 2011. This is an open event and there is more about it on page 6. Information at: Kevin Patrick Dowd 210-845-4424

From Your New President Thirty-five or so years ago I attended my first river parade. Before I knew it, my father was “volunteering” me to assist at an array of Harp and Shamrock activities. I helped my dad with Project Santa Claus, worked at the Folk Life Festival, and served as gofer/ bartender at parties and other events. At 20, I joined the Air Force, and set out making my fortune in the world. Even though I was far a field from San Antonio, I was never far away from the Society, My parents would keep me updated through the newsletter, and I attended Harp and Shamrock events whenever I was in town. In the early 1990’s, I Moved to Corpus Christi, and stayed connected with the Harp through by volunteering at the Alamo Irish Festival, and helping judge the parade. When I moved back to San Antonio a few years ago, I did something I had never done before: I joined the Society. Upon joining, I never missed an opportunity to lend a hand wherever needed. A few years ago, I was elected to the Board of Directors. It was an honor that required a stronger commitment to the Society. I always assumed that my link to the Society was my “Irishness”. However, while attending the memorial service last week, I discovered that connection to the Society goes much further. It is rooted in the traditions and values set by our founders, in the commitment of the members, and the friendships that I have formed through the Society. One of my goals for this year is to encourage more members of the Society to become more involved. So, I will be asking a few of you to join us at various functions and activities during the year. Expect a phone call or an email with a personal invitation to join us at one of our socials, community service projects, or events. It will be a great opportunity to get involved with a wonderful group of San Antonians of Irish Heritage. Erin go Braugh! Terence Peak

From Ireland’s President December 2010 I send warmest Christmas and New Year greetings to each member of Ireland’s family and to all our friends around the world. At this time of year, exiles return and families gather, glad to see one another. Conversation will doubtless turn to Ireland’s economic problems that are dominating the headlines everywhere and which have brought hardship and heartache into many a home. Our people face a painful economic recovery and, understandably, ask questions about what led to our current difficulties. They wonder how long it will take to get through this crisis and what must be done to prevent it from recurring. Mustering the self-belief and determination that will reinvigorate our country psychologically and economically is now an imperative. Ireland and her people are worth much, much more than to be defined by this economic crisis. Our history has given us resilience in the face of adversity and maybe it’s time to remind ourselves that we do indeed have many strengths to help us on the journey ahead. Ireland enjoys a dynamic community life sustained by a modern “meitheal” of good neighbourliness, solidarity and volunteer generosity. We are a people rich in imagination, creativity, innovation and problem-solving skills. We have a strong business sector, including world-class companies that choose to locate in Ireland and indigenous enterprises that are doing very well in export markets. We have the gift of peace that has already transformed life on our shared island and which has huge untapped potential. We have an extraordinarily loyal global Irish family whose goodwill and experience is an extensive and enduring resource. We have men and women of great ability across the arts, humanities, sciences, technologies, sports and development aid sectors, whose genius enhances Irish life and Ireland’s international reputation. Above all, we have a talented and ambitious cohort of young people who deserve the gifts of confidence in their future and pride in their country. That confidence and pride will be generated by what we choose to do today and tomorrow to make Ireland the successful, forward looking and egalitarian country it has the desire and the capacity to be. I wish each and every one of you a peaceful and happy Christmas and a New Year of renewed hope and faith in Ireland’s future.

[Editor’s note: Board meetings are the second Thursday of the month at Beethoven Maennerchor.]

President Mary McAleese 3

Halfway to St Patrick’s Day Huge Success at Beethoven!

The Kelly Irish Singers lead by Tom Ewing got into the festivities and started the evening entertainment with the national anthem and the Irish national anthem.

Carolyn Dowd has a few anouncements to make at the 4th Annual Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day @ The Beethoven Maennerchor Halle und Garten. It was a fine soft Irish day, with a little wet weather that didn’t dampen the fun. The San Antonio Pipes and Drums sounded great in the hall. Everybody had a great time. Carolyn wants to thank everyone who came out and help make our newest fundraiser a fun-raiser also!

The McTeggert School of Irish Dancers, left, and the Inishfree School of Irish Dance, right, had the crowd wanting more.

It was fun for all ages! From left to right: Sean and Wayne Faught on the left and Margaret Burke and Fr. Francis McHugh

Robert Doyle entertains!

While Mike and Christine Dodd enjoy!

First Stew Tasting Winners!

Brian and Patricia Lopez show off the first prize certificate for having the best stew. Challenges have already been thrown down for next years cook-off competition.


Our second vice president with the president, her son! Pat and Terry Peak were showing their Irish pride.

Installation Dinner

New Board members Erin O’Brien, Steve Mattick, Brenda Tobey, and John Smith are all smiles after being sworn in by past president Anton Hajek.

Door prize winners with the Texas Rose. Lou Kelley, George Tracy, 2010 Texas Rose of Tralee Adrienne Hussey, Erin O’Brien, Kay Delaney and Rev. John Flanagan.

The Harp and Holly Christmas Dinner@ Dave ‘n’Busters The Harp and Holly Christmas party was great fun and a good time thanks to the hard work of Melissa Schulz. Thanks also to Derek Cossey who had a hand in helping. The trivia game was a ball as well as guessing what is in the stocking. Ingenious! It was a perfect way to start the Christmas season.

You are not ready for the season till you’ve heard Bill Merriman’s version of Rudy the Red Beaked Reindeer!

Ready for the games to begin are: President Terence Peak, Carolyn Dowd, Mary Jo Quinn and the Grand Marshall of the 2011 St. Patrick’s Day Parade Sister Helena Monahan, CCVI, Chancellor of the University of the Incarnate Word. Erin O’Brien and Darryl Britten enjoy the seasonal adult beverages!

Brigid Greenberg stopped by for some holiday cheer and ran into Santa’s helper Bill Caballero.

The Kelly Singers had a few Irish Christmas songs to add to the good time.

Thursday Celtic Session @ the Olmos Bharmacy makes the San Antonio Express News.

Jim Beal, Jr, the music writer for the San Antonio Express News, did a great write up on our favorite Thursday night celtic music session at the Olmos Bharmacy. It was in the Dec 7th issue but you can find it online. Visit : and type in “Music with an Irish accent” in the search box. The gang is back every Thursday, so start the new year right.

Ron Wilson (from left), Erika Wert, Tom McMasters and Rod Campbell jam Celtic style at the Olmos Bharmacy. Picture: SA Express News


A Major Irish Event Scheduled for San Antonio!

March Events!

This year’s Grand Marshal is Sister Helena Monahan, CCVI, Chancellor of the University of the Incarnate Word. There will be more on Sister Helena in the next issue. We have only two months to go till that great day for the Irish. We had such good success last year that we are planning to do it again. 2 parades in one day! Those Texas Irish like to do it big. This is the perfect time for members to get involved. There are plenty of opportunities for all to help. We’ve got golf and a run, we’ve got a street parade and a river parade, and we’ve got a reception in between those two parades. There will be more information in the next issue and our web site is always the best place to find out the latest news and info.

The North American Convention of Comhaltas Ceoiltoiri Eireann, CCE for short (see Gaelic lesson pg. 2), will be held in San Antonio March 24-27, The Street parade will step off at 11:00 a.m. 2011. CCE is a worldwide organization based in DubOur members are one of the first groups to walk up lin, Ireland, committed to the preservation and practhe avenue so plan to be there early. tice of traditional Irish arts such as music, singing, dance, storytelling, and language. There are over 400 branches worldwide including branches in the United States and Canada. Irish Hurley makes an impact on US soldiers San Antonio is one of the newest Branches in the US. An application was approved from the CCE Provincial (North American) Office and the Branch was The Irish influence is found just about anywhere you named the “An tAtair Sean MacAodghain Branch” look. The Pentagon Channel did a half hour excluafter Fr. Sean Egan, a former president of the ICS of sive show on a National Guard unit from Concord, San Antonio. Fr. Sean from Dublin Ireland together New Hampshire and their love of hurling. Traveling with Jim Fox helped start the local traditional group, through Shannon Airport after a busy year in Iraq a St. James Gate, which went on to win the Comhaltas group of soldiers watched a hurling match on a bar sponsored All Ireland Fleadh Ceoil (World ChampiTV. Lieutenant Colonel Valas felt this would be a onship of Traditional Irish Music) in 1986. Jim Fox is way to keep the warrior bond they’d shared on the the first president and Jennifer Van Gorken the first ground in Iraq back in the USA. They started playing secretary of the new Branch. At the CCE Convention when they got home and even competed in the U.S. April 2010 in New Jersey San Antonio was selected National Championships. The Barley House Wolves as the host city for the 2011 Comhaltas North Ameriis the clubs name and they are coached by Ruairi can Convention. The Convention will be held at the O’Mahoney from Cork. Hilton Airport Hotel, San Antonio. The show’s title is: Recon: Two Fields One Team. Local Comhaltas member, Paula Carnes started a Set ”What happens when you cross an Army National Dancing Class and she holds regular classes every Guard Unit with the Irish sport of hurling? You get an Friday evening at 6:30 PM at a dance studio, The unbreakable bond that goes from the battlefield to the Land of Virtuosity at 6712 N New Braunfels. Those playing field.” interested can contact Paula at paulacarnes@yahoo. com. Join now and be prepared to enjoy the Set DancYou can watch it at: ing part of the CCE Convention! 6


The Harp & Shamrock Society of Texas Newsletter Editor P.O. Box 15306 San Antonio, TX 78212 Email:

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Mark Your Calendar

Thanks To Our Sponsors


18 Tuesday, 7p.m. Member Mixer Lion & Rose @ Broadway


19 Saturday, 6 p.m. Awards Banquet/ General Membership Meeting Los Barrios Mexican Restaurant


11 Friday, 1p.m.Shamrock Scramble Golf 12 Saturday, 11a.m. St. Patrick’s Day Parade 3p.m. River Parade 17 Thursday, Noon, St. Patrick’s Day @ The Alamo 19 Saturday, 8a.m.Shamrock Shuffle Fun Run

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©2010 Dowd Ranch Publishing


The Official Newsletter of the Harp & Shamrock Society of Texas


The Official Newsletter of the Harp & Shamrock Society of Texas