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The Irish Presence In Cleveland

According to census data provided by the Northern Ohio Data and Information Services, there are over 72,000 people of Irish descent in the Greater Cleveland area.

The Irish are a proud, hard working people with a fierce loyalty to family and friends. They are known for their wonderful sense of humor and their zest for life.

This is in evidence every year on the 17th day of March, St. Patrick's Day, when an average of 100,000 people watch the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Everybody it seems, at least on this day, wants to be Irish.

The Parade is put on by the United Irish Societies, which is a compilation of nineteen local Irish Clubs and organizations. 10,000 people march in this parade in 125 different units. Each one is as proud as they can be of both their Irish roots and their American home.

There are three major clubs in the Greater Cleveland area. These are the Irish American Club, East Side (IACES), The West Side Irish American Club (WSIAC) and the Irish Heritage Center.

The Irish American Club, East Side is locates in Euclid, Ohio at 22770 Lakeshore Blvd. It boasts a membership of approximately 3,000 people.

The Golden Shamrocks are the East Side Club's seniors group. They meet every Wednesday at 1:00. In order to join the Golden Shamrocks you must be a member of the Irish American Club East Side. Beyond that the only requirement is that you be age 55 or over. There is a weekly fee of $1.00.

After a ten-year absence as Chairperson of the Golden Shamrocks, Eileen Gallagher has once again taken over and has some great activities planned for the group. One of her biggest plans is to make sure every member gets to know every other member in more than just a passing-acquaintance way.

They recently brought in some old pictures of themselves (from childhood) and tried to guess who was who. They have White Elephant Sales, card games, speakers and of course, lunch every week.

Eileen is a delightful woman with a great interest in people. You can reach her by contacting the Club at (216) 731-4003.

The West Side Irish American Club's seniors group is appropriately named "Forever Young". Started by Helen Malloy and Coletta Jablonski about eight years ago, it is now chaired by Ellen Baumgartner.

Located at 8559 Jennings Road in Olmsted Township, the West Side Irish American Club is Cleveland's oldest Irish American Club and the first in the entire country to own it's own property.

Membership on Forever Young first requires membership in the West Side Irish American Club. As of January 2002 the annual fee to belong to Forever Young is to be $10.00. As with the East Side Club, you must be age 55 or older.

They meet once a month on the second Thursday at 1:00. They also offer a variety of activities including an upcoming Ice Cream Social, trips, games and activities.

Above all else, both the Golden Shamrocks and Forever Young pride themselves on the sociability and friendliness that the Irish are so famous for.

The Irish Heritage Center does not currently have a seniors organization, but the formation of one is not out of the question.

Both the IACES and the WSIAC sponsor many events, including dances, concerts and dinners of interest to people of all ages.

If you are interested in joining any of these Clubs or a schedule of their activities and events, contact them at the numbers listed above.

E-mail us at irish@ClevelandSeniors.Com

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