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Harp Strings The Official Newsletter of the Harp & Shamrock Society.

Keeping Irish history and culture alive in South Texas for 50 years! Volume 49 Issue 4

Summer 2016

Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival

Pictured above left are the heroes who raised money to conquer childhood cancer. The St. Baldrick’s participants were: Dr. Gerardo Quezada, Terence Peak, Troy Knickerbocker, Alicia Altman, Kevin Dowd, Patrick Burke and our lovely MC for the event Jocelyn Tovar. Missing shavee is Trey Bailey. Above right: President Melissa Schulz poses with Miss Shamrock and Inishfree dancer Bailey Quigly. There are many more pictures inside and on our web site!

2016 Harp & Shamrock Alamo Ceremony

The weather could not have been better for our 49th Wreath laying ceremony at The Alamo. Once again our society gathers to pay honor to the Irishmen who fought and died defending freedom and working towards independence. We were joined by the Irish Consul General, the Texas Secretary of State, the Mayor’s representative and one of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. For the first time we also had the talented folks from the San Antonio Living History Association.

PRESIDENT Melissa Schulz 210-831-2072 VICE PRESIDENT Melinda Britten 210-699-8632 2nd VICE PRESIDENT Elissa O’Brien 210-348-6877 TREASURER J.T. Norris 210-621-3407 SECRETARY Dana Goodman 210-219-7356 CHAPLAIN Bill Merriman 210-259-3482 BOARD of DIRECTORS Carolyn Dowd 210-896-1598 Darryl Britten 210-215-9952 Joan Moody 210-656-2666 Erin O’Brien 210-348-6877 J. Sean Habina 210-523-9267 Allison Mulvey 210-822-1182 Michael O’Brien 210-422-2446 Eileen Faught 210-379-8462 Kevin P. Dowd 210-845-4424 Linda Grosse 720-987-6318 James Gorman 210-954-0713 Elizabeth Hajek 210-861-3813 Jerry Mulvey 210-257-6707 Terence Peak 210-218-8795 IRISHMAN OF THE YEAR Melinda Britten 2016 Editor in Chief

Kevin Patrick Dowd The Staff: Chris A. Hayes Eileen Faught Mariee Pilkington John McCarthy Pat Peak Erin Binkley Carolyn Dowd ©2016 Dowd Ranch Publishing


From the Laptop  of Your Editor I was interviewed quite a few times leading up to our March events, including our 49th Harp & Shamrock Wreath Laying and the Third Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival at UIW. The one interview that made the biggest impact on me was by Jocelyn Tovar of News 4/ WOAI. Let me back up. The task of taking over as Volunteer Event Organizer for the St. Baldrick’s part of the festival fell into my lap. We had made such a huge impression in the past I had some trepidation this year. The folks at St. Baldrick’s Foundation are all amazing to work with. The first time you hear the horror story of a small child fighting for their life will break your heart. Then you see all the amazing folks that come together each year to put these events on will warm your heart. I’d love to use some foul language right now to tell Childhood Cancer what I really think of it, but this is a family newsletter. Jocelyn agreed to be the MC for the shaving, but she went above and beyond to help out our society. She was able to get the city of San Antonio’s attention when a last minute fee almost derailed the entire festival. Jocelyn informed me of this during the interview at the Alamo. Thank you so much! I’d like to thank our two lovely barbers Celinda Navario and Jessica Johnson from a local Sports Clips. They both did an outstanding job shaving and cleaned up after. We raised $4,965!

Kevin Patrick Dowd

From Your President

Dear Members, Here we are, halfway through our 50th Anniversary year and what a great six months we have had, culminating thus far with some incredible events the week of St. Patrick’s Day. Thank you to all the MEMBERS and volunteers that showed up to help with our many incredible March events. I received fabulous comments about the sold-out Awards Dinner, the new-and-improved Wreath Laying Ceremony at The Alamo, the Irish music festival at the Arneson Theatre, the St. Patrick’s Day River Parade (the only such parade in the world, by the way!), Donovan’s Run and the Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival at UIW. Whether you served as the lead on a project or event, or just volunteered for a twohour shift, you are appreciated! I want to specially recognize the crew that worked so hard to put together our new educational exhibit for the festival, called “Passport to Ireland.” They continue to work on making that exhibit portable so we can use it at other events and at local children’s charities. The Harp & Shamrock Society was all over the local newspapers and on TV and radio, to further educate the public about what we do and what we stand for. I believe we had press at every event this year. And even though attendance was down at some events, the happy news is that our social media and membership numbers jumped! Retention rates are also better than ever before. We moved the Harp & Shamrock Golf Scramble to the same weekend as the Green Tie 50th Anniversary Celebration Dinner, so mark your calendars for September 16 for golf, and September 17 for our gala celebration. Details for all of these events are on our web-site. Hope to see you there. Melissa Schulz

Passport To Ireland The Passport to Ireland Exhibit debuted at the Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival in March. The “Passport to Ireland” is a fun cultural and historical experience for the entire family. There are interactive exhibit areas where attendees, using their “passports,” were immersed in Irish culture, history and mythology. Attendees “travelled” through the festival designated area to complete their passport, while gleaning information about Ireland that includes historical sites, legendary authors, adventurers and explorers as they navigated the five areas: 1) The Irish in Texas, 2) Irish culture, 3) Discovering Irish family history, 4) Famous Irishmen and women, 5) Passport pick up at The Harp and Shamrock Society’s Irish thatch cottage. Folks learned about the Irish at the Alamo siege, early Irish settlements including The Irish flats in San Antonio, the San Patricio and Refugio colonies, and the legend of the Blarney Stone. Using a hands-on, interactive map, folks were able to identify from where their Irish ancestors hailed and locate their family crests, if possible. Folks got to kiss the Blarney stone, Walk the Plank with Grace O’Malley, and learn a little of the Gaelic language and much, much more. Attendees also received a souvenir upon completion of their Passport to Ireland. We are the proud recipients of a grant from Humanities Texas for this exhibit. Thanks go out to Linda Grosse, Melinda Britten, Darryl Britten, Gerry Mulvey, Allison Mulvey, and Barb Patrick for their many months of planning and hard work to make this a reality. Carolyn Dowd

Ed’s note: Pictured top left: David Sutherland of the San Antonio Pipes and Drums with Melisssa. Below left: Robert Chalk of Alamo City Pipes and Drums accepts the best of Parade. 210-831-2072 Pictures above: Fun was had by children of all ages at the Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival. 3

2016 March Events!


H& S April Social.

2016 Harp & Shamrock Alamo Ceremony

Imagine if these guys had been defending the Alamo! Now that would be a story!

Jocelyn Tovar did great coverage of the Alamo ceremony for WOAI/4 .


Book Reviews

The Alamo’s Forgotten Defenders The Remarkable Story of the Irish During the Texas Revolution By Phillip Thomas Tucker ©2016 This is a good book to own to make you feel proud to be Irish and proud to be Texan. The Irish were the largest immigrant group in Texas at the time and among the most vocal and passionate of liberty-loving revolutionaries. The author has decided the forgotten Irish story in Texas was well worth his time exploring. He did some great research and this is well represented in the footnotes and bibliography. Dr. Tucker worked for more than 20 years as a historian for the Dept. of Defense and it seems that this gave him the fortitude and foundation to do the years of digging and research in unexplored sources in Texas, Mexico, across the US and even in Ireland. Being the 100th commemoration of Ireland’s own 1916 Rising it seems fitting that this book delves into the Irish influence in the Texas uprising of 1835-1836. One point I learned was the largely Ireland-born garrison of Goliad raised the first flag of Texas Independence months before the Alamo’s fall. We may need to look at our list of names as Edward McCafferty is missing. That makes it 13 Irish-born who took part in the 13 days defending the Alamo. This book is a long overdue correction to the standard view of the garrison at the Alamo and a welcomed addition to the library. The 1916 Irish Rebellion By Bríona Nic Dhiarmada

©2016 University of Notre Dame Published in Ireland by Cork University Press 207 pages.

Movie Review Sing Street (2015) PG 13/ 1 hr 46 min.

Irish writer/director, John Carney, the man who gave us the films “Once” and “Begin Again” now gives us this nostalgic retro-homage to growing up in 1980s Dublin. John Carney’s third music movie prove the saying that the third time is a charm, and a real charmer. The classic boy-meets-girl story takes a unique turn in this tale. The main character Connor, played by Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, falls for Raphina, played by Lucy Boynton. He gets up the nerve to talk to her and invites her to be in his band’s music video. When she agrees he’s thrilled. Now all he has to do is form a band! And write some songs and then make a video! No worries. The band’s name comes from the Synge Street school the boys attend. Other Irish cast members in this great story are Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Jack Reynor and Kelly Thornton. Sing Street was released 17 March 2016, after being at the Sundance, Dublin, South by Southwest and Nashville Film Festivals. It is available on line as a preorder on iTunes and dvd or BluRay at Amazon. firsthand accounts of the goings on 100 years ago. The perfectly reprinted photos bring you face to face with the destruction that the English rained on parts of Dublin with their artillery. There were many stories that I’m sad to say I was unaware of. Like the story of Elizabeth O’Farrell, a nurse, working side-by-side with the rebels holding the GPO. There is the story of the Asgard, a small sailing skiff that was used to deliver the rifles from Germany that made the Rising possible. The most poignant story is of James Connolly, one of signatories of the Proclamation, unable to stand they pulled him off the stretcher and sat him in a kitchen chair for the firing squad. The only drawback to this great book is you don’t have Liam Neeson telling you the tales.

This great big book of historic photographs will rise to the top of all books on this subject. This beautiful companion volume to the RTÉ threepart documentary, narrated by Liam Neeson, was five years in the making. The monumental task was achieved by the Notre Dame’s Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies The amazing pictures that were used in the documentary are all collected here for the first time, making this book a great resource for anyone interested But we have fixed that with two free viewings of the film. in this important period in Ireland’s history. The book We are cosponsoring these with the Irish Consulate Gencontains many eye-opening sidebars with extraordinary eral Austin. Visit our web site for more details. 6

Tales From the Pitch and Around the Harp By Chris A. Hayes



This past April the San Antonio Gaelic Athletic Club’s football team hosted and defeated the Dallas GAA Fionn MacCumhaill: 4.8 to 3.8 (20-17). It was a hard-fought match with both teams giving it all they had. Several factors which contributed to the San Patricio’s win included intense training, cardio workouts and talented new recruits. The home team has several more exciting things coming up this year. The first is the Avoca Champions Cup which will be held every other weekend in June, July and August. This tournament will consist of four SAGAC scrimmage teams. Also this year is the NAGAA Finals / NACB National Tournament. It will be held Sept. 2-4 in Seattle. The team is looking forward to visiting the Seattle Space Needle because there is nothing like it here in San Antonio.

Marley Hays is one of the recipients of this year’s Harp and Shamrock Society of Texas scholarships. She has recently graduated summa cum laude from A&M Consolidated High School in College Station, Texas. As a student, Marley took part in debate, public speaking and the dual language program. Marley is a highly-ranked debater in the U.S. and she has participated in tournaments throughout Texas and in other states. She also speaks Spanish fluently. Marley was given the honor of delivering the class speech at her graduation ceremony. In her address she encouraged her classmates to acknowledge each other—not to just stick with their cliques and ignore all other people. She called it “PDA: Public Display of Acknowledgement.” Marley was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma to Dirk and Stacy Hays. She and her family moved to College Station in 2002. Texas A&M University is the place Marley’s parents met when they attended school there. Her father now works at A&M as a researcher and a professor. Marley’s older sister Kiara was a recipient of a H&S scholarship in 2014. She currently attends the University of Texas at Austin where she is studying geography. Marley herself will attend Yale University this fall and plans to study migratory patterns and migrant rights.

Now I must swap out my sports-reporter hat for my SAGAC-player cap. The SAGAC is a non-profit organization which promotes Irish culture through sports and activities. Gaelic football, hurling and volunteering for the community are just some of the benefits the club offers to both adults and children. But like all non-profit groups, the SAGAC relies heavily on the generous support of individuals and businesses to help with its basic expenses. Those include buying sports equipment, uniforms and paying tournament fees. For just $25, a person can become an official SAGAC supporter and will be invited to all of the group’s games and social events. There are also sponsorship opportunities for businesses which include displaying its logo on the SAGAC website and/or on the team jerseys. Please visit the SAGAC at and on Facebook for more information about the club and its sponsorship program. The club’s treasurer can be contacted at (Email). Remember, all donations and sponsorships are 100% tax deductible. P.S. The SAGAC is always looking for new members. If you (or someone you know) are interested in playing challenging sports and making great friends, please join our team!

FYI: Yale University is an Ivy League (academic excellence) research school founded in New Haven, Connecticut in 1701. Yale has graduated five U.S. presidents, 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, hundreds of U.S. members of Congress and many other important, high-ranking people. (From Wikipedia.)

Congratulations to the 2016 Scholarship winners! Cultural Award: Jameson Perez - $400.00 Academic Awards: Erin O’Brien - $500.00 Stefan Ross Marty - $500.00 Bria N. Marty - $500.00 Marley Hays - $400.00 Seamus Moreno - $400.00 Alexander Simonetta - $400.00


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

It was great to see all the military services represented at the Harp & Shamrock Irish Festival!







Thanks to Our Sponsors


11 Board Meeting

September 8 Board Meeting

16 Halfway Shamrock Golf Classic In partnership with the SAGAC 17 H&S 50th Anniversary Gala! 25 Sun, “1916 Irish Rebellion” UIW International Building


1 Sat, “1916 Irish Rebellion” SA Central Library 13 Board Meeting Please check for updates on our web site!

The McCombs Foundation / Twitter: @harpshamrocktx / Facebook & Instagram ©2016 Dowd Ranch Publishing

Harp Strings Vol49no4  

Our 50th year continues! See what the biggest Irish organization in Texas has been up to.

Harp Strings Vol49no4  

Our 50th year continues! See what the biggest Irish organization in Texas has been up to.