Irish Genealogy Day

SAVE MARCH 12TH FOR IRISH GENEALOGY DAY

Sunday, March 12, 2023 is Irish Genealogy Day at the GAC from 10 to 2pm. Looking to discover more about your family history? Come listen to and meet the experts from the Ulster Historical Foundation of Belfast. Registration details to follow. Hosted by Fréamh Éireann (Irish Roots) genealogy group & sponsored by Féile.

Bob Abercrombie, Chairman, Fréamh Éireann FEGACinct@gmail.com or Clare Lawler Kilgallen
Email: FEsecretarygac@gmail.com

Kicking off the 2023 Season

The Clan na Gael Players would like to thank all who attended our production of “Outside Mullingar ” and look forward to seeing you soon at another CnG event.

This month CnG will bring another Readers Theatre evening. The Good Father by Christian O’Reilly, will be read under the direction of Valerie Huegal on Saturday January 21st @ 8pm and Sunday January 22nd @ 7:15 – Admission is $5.

The story, The Good Father begins on New Year’s Eve when bored with the party, a man and women meet and decide to have their own intimate party, which on turn, takes them on an unexpected roller coaster journey. Filled with “inescapable electric dialogue”. The couple leads us through unmistakable laughter, along with every other emotion that is life. Mature play goers suggested.

Then in March the Clan na Gael One Act Playwright Contest Winning entries will be read Sunday, March 26, 2023, 2:30pm – Admission is Free!

  • 1st Place “The Head of Shamus Delaney” by Ben Scranton
  • 2nd Place “The Turquois Sheep” by Alison Flannery
  • 3rd Place “Leaving” by Brian Whelan

CnG’s Spring Production Auditions of The Poets Rebellion under the direction of Eamon Speer be held February 25, 26 from 1:30-3:30 at the Gaelic American Club. Cast of 6 Males and Females. Auditions are open to all. No experience necessary.

CnG is planning an Evening of Merriment for those involved in prior CnG productions. And all interested in learning more about us as we celebrate 36 years of presenting plays by or about the Irish. No Experience Necessary! But always welcome! Watch for more information.

Irish Genealogy Day

Save the Date! Sunday, March 12, 2023 from 10 to 2pm is Irish Genealogy Day at the Club. Looking to discover more about your family history? Come listen to and meet the experts from the Ulster Historical Foundation of Belfast. Registration details to follow. Hosted by Fréamh Éireann (Irish Roots) genealogy group & sponsored by Féile.

Bob Abercrombie, Chairman, Fréamh Éireann FEGACinct@gmail.com or
Clare Lawler Kilgallen
Email: FEsecretarygac@gmail.com

First Friday Trad Musician 6-8pm

Linsey Céitinn is February’s first Friday Musician Feb 3rd 6-8pm


This award-winning fiddler and teacher will play the February’s First Friday Trad Music Session on February 3rd from 6-8pm. An accomplished musician, she’s president of The PV O’Donnell Branch of Comhaltas and a student of Brian Conway.

Traditional Irish Music Session with Kira Jewett Friday January 6th @ 6pm

Kira Jewett our Frist Friday Trad Musician started playing classically when she was just three years old but fell in love with the music of Ireland in her 20s and studied extensively with the virtuoso fiddler Brian Conway. She is the 2003 All-Ireland fiddle Slow Airs Champion. She is also a member of New Leaf and the band will play that night from 8-11PM!

Irish History Lecture

29TH IN A SERIES ON IRISH HISTORY LECTURES
(Stair na hÉireann)
THE IRISH-JEWISH ULYSSES: HOW AND WHY TO READ THE WORLD’S GREATEST NOVEL

Our February presenter will be Dr. Abby Bender, Department of Languages and Literatures, and Director of the Minor in Irish Studies at Sacred Heart University. Dr. Bender’s research is focused on Irish literature and culture, and she is the author of Israelites in Erin: Exodus, Revolution, and the Irish Revival (Syracuse UP, 2015), as well as essays on James Joyce, Lady Gregory, Patrick Pearse, the Irish Revival, and transnationalism.
Dr. Bender’s current book project is a cultural and literary history of breastfeeding in Ireland, a topic that has led into further considerations of the body, biopower, disability, and medical humanities, with a particular focus on gender and women’s writing. She continues to be interested in questions of transnational analogy, and her current work in Jewish-Irish studies addresses both historical and contemporary issues of solidarity, migration, and borders. Register at: gaclectures@gmail.com.

Sunday, February 5, 2023 in the Carolan Room at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets $5, Students with ID $2.
Sorry no GAC Scrip or credit cards

Ryan Mahoney Joins Team at Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum of Fairfield, Inc.

Ryan Mahoney will assist with planning and exhibition of IGHM collection from Quinnipiac University.

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum of Fairfield, Inc., established by members of the Gaelic-American Club in Fairfield, CT, is excited to announce that longtime museum professional Ryan Mahoney will be joining the association as an advisor.

Mahoney most recently served as the Executive Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University from 2017-2021 where he provided general management and oversight of all administrative operations of the museum, while managing all aspects of the collection’s care and maintenance. From 2013-2017, Mahoney was the Executive Director of the Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany, NY and he currently works at Springfield Museums in Springfield, Mass., where he helps develop gallery and exhibition themes and supervises installation of exhibition areas.

Mahoney has a dual bachelor’s degree in history and political science from St. John Fisher College and a master’s degree in public history from the University at Albany. He brings over 15 years of professional experience in the museum field to the team at Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum of Fairfield, Inc. Mahoney also has served as a national board member of the Irish American Cultural Institute, as well as a board member of the United Irish Societies of the Capital District, Inc. In 2016, Mahoney was named an Irish “Top 40 Under 40” by the Irish Echo.

“To say I am excited to have the opportunity to continue to work with this collection and help in the development of its new home would be an understatement,” said Mahoney. “This collection is powerful. Not only does it tell the story of Ireland in the 19th-century, but it also draws parallels to many contemporary issues that we see worldwide. The artwork here inspires conversations and provokes questions. It makes a topic like the Great Hunger more accessible to visitors of all ages.”

Mahoney added: “The Gaelic-American Club should be commended for the work that they have done to keep this collection together and home here in Connecticut. Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum of Fairfield, Inc. is assembling an impressive team of professionals to make sure this project is done correctly. This joint effort will secure the future Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum collection and ensure that it will thrive for generations to come.” (For more information visit https://www.ighmf.org/)

About the Gaelic-American Club of Fairfield

The Gaelic-American Club was founded in 1948 in Bridgeport by a group of Irish immigrants for the purpose of maintaining and celebrating Irish culture. By promoting social, civic, and cultural activities, the GAC continues long held Irish traditions and educates future generations. Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum of Fairfield, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) and operates as an association of the Gaelic-American Club.

Community Support for Museum’s Move to Fairfield

St. Patrick’s GAA Club, Fairfield CT

IRELAND’S GREAT HUNGER MUSEUM TREASURES SAVED
Saving Art Treasures Critically Important to the Irish Community

Fairfield, Connecticut. March 3, 2022 – St. Patrick’s GAA Club welcomes the transfer of the collection from Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum to the Gaelic American Club in Fairfield, Connecticut.

“This is terrific opportunity to preserve the unique artistic remembrances of the Great Hunger so that our community never forgets this tragedy,” said Jimmy Feeney, Chairman of St. Patrick’s GAA Club. He further added, “We are so grateful that the leadership of Quinnipiac University and the Gaelic American Club could work together and find a solution that maintains the public’s access to this important historical collection.”
In addition to preserving and promoting Gaelic games in Fairfield County, St. Patrick’s GAA Club supports Irish cultural programs and initiatives including traditional Irish language, music, dance, and literature.

Fairfield University’s response to Gaelic American Club saving and preserving Irish artifacts from Great Hunger Museum

The Irish Hunger Museum is not only among the most important Irish cultural institutions in the region and nation, but it’s collection is a crucial example of the role of art in rendering the human dimensions of loss, trauma, and the unspeakable. The museum represents and commemorates loss, injustice, and dehumanization. To see the museum survive, to have such a respected institution as the Gaelic American Club involved in its’ stewardship, and to have it located in such a well travelled area as downtown Fairfield is a blessing to us all.

Nels Pearson, PhD
Director, The Humanities Institute

Ancient Order of Hibernians JKF Division 1 Bridgeport, CT

It truly is great news to hear that Quinnipiac University is going to gift the entire collection of Art and artifacts of the Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum to the Fairfield Gaelic American Club. As an Irish American I am proud of our heritage. As President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians JKF division 1, Bridgeport, CT my chest swells with pride that such an important collection will be in Fairfield. “Fair play to ye” and well done.

If there is anything our organization can do to assist in transfer and set up of the collection do not hesitate to reach out to me. I know our membership will be overjoyed and “over the moon”, happy to hear the news when it is public knowledge.

Mark T. Ryan DMD
President
AOH JFK Division 1
Bridgeport CT

View Letter

(For more information visit https://www.ighmf.org/)

St Patrick’s Day Photo Gallery

“Cead mile failte, 100,000 welcomes. Ireland and the Irish are famous for that sentiment, for the sincerity of their welcome and I want you to feel that uniquely Irish sentiment here today. I want you to feel like you’ve been welcomed home.

This past year, Ireland has felt much further away than any time is our life time and we appreciate even more our heritage, our culture and our home. We appreciate even more what’s it like to have a club like this, where we can feel that welcome, where we can meet a friend, enjoy their company, truly like a home away from home.

We pray that in this coming year, we can reflect NOT on what we’ve lost this past year, but what we’ve gained. An appreciation of what is truly precious in this life, the connection to those we love, and a deeper appreciation of what home and family really means.

We, as a community have learned that we must never take for granted what it means to have a home like this to come to. We must always remember the work the previous generations of Irish men and women have invested, and we must endeavor to continue their work so that our children can feel the same connection to our heritage that brought you all here today.

So today I wish you, with all my heart, Cead mile failte. Welcome home, and a very Happy St Patrick’s Day.”

Gerry Forde
GAC Executive Committee President

Dining At the GAC

Menu can be viewed on home page.

The GAC will update safety precautions as necessary

KITCHEN HOURS
Wednesday & Thursday: Kitchen open at 4 closes at 9pm
Friday: Kitchen open at 4 and closes at 10pm
Saturday: Kitchen open at 12 and closes at 10pm
Sunday: Kitchen open at 12 and closes at 8pm

EXTENDED PUB HOURS
Wednesday & Thursday open till 10pm
Friday & Saturday open till 12pm
Sunday open till 9pm

The GAC Accepts All Forms of Payment Cash, Credit Cards or Scrip.

Bar Service is Back – No Reservations.

 

Fantastic Start to Fundraising Efforts for Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum of Fairfield, INC

(Left to right) John Foley President of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum of Fairfield, Inc. Amy O’Shea Vice President of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum of Fairfield, Inc. Connecticut State Senator Tony Hwang Dr. Christine Kinealy PhD founding director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute Gerry Forde President of the Gaelic-American Club.


The Ancient Order of Hibernians hosted breakfast at the Gaelic-American Club on Sunday March 6th and a total of $10,000 was donated to the Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum of Fairfield, Inc.

Dr. Kinealy was the guest speaker for the event and was introduced by Amy O’Shea. The following was Amy’s speech.

“Good morning everyone. My name is Amy O’Shea and I’m delighted to be the very first speaker from Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum of Fairfield.

The journey you join us on today started when a few Gaelic-American board members joined the fight to reopen a shuttered museum in Hamden and it continued months later when we hosted an event there in the pouring rain in October.

What followed was months of quiet negotiations and representation of the Irish-American community in Connecticut.

Months of late night phone calls, text messages, emails and meetings in Hamden and Fairfield which lead us to this momentous decision by Quinnipiac on Friday.

The decision to transfer this great collection to the Gaelic American Club right here in Fairfield.

We are so very grateful that Quinnipiac is entrusting us with this incredibly important and prestigious collection and we fully understand and are prepared for the enormity of the responsibility we have undertaken.

The announcement has already been met with such an unbelievable outpouring of support from the Irish American community and we thank you for joining this small group at the beginning of our journey.

Over the coming months we will build something new and beautiful and we will show the world that Irish-America is as strong as ever. We will build on the story that Dr. John Lahey started and we will tell the story of our ancestors and how we got here.

Today I have the great honor to introduce someone who knows this great collection like no other and one of the world’s foremost authorities on the Great Hunger. It is truly my great pleasure to introduce Dr. Christine Kinealy.”

A total of $10,000 was donated to the Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum of Fairfield, Inc. at the event.  Many thanks to Ted Lovely family , the AOH for matching their donation and those who donated anonymously.

(For more information visit https://www.ighmf.org/)

25 Card Game

Card players will meet twice in January – On Jan 8th and Jan 22nd from 12 to 3.30 pm Weather permitting

How 25 is played:

The game of 25 can be played with any number of players, preferably from 5 to 10, not to exceed 10 players. The object of the game is to see who gets 25 first. Each trick is considered 5 points. To begin the game, any player can deal out the cards. The first player to receive an ace is the player who actually gets the first deal. Each player receives five cards. When the dealer is finished dealing the cards, he turns up the next card. This card is called the head trump. Then each player looks at his hand to see how many trump cards he has. The more trump cards a player has, the better his chances are of reaching 25.

The leadoff man to start the game is to the player’s left. If he leads off with a trump, then all players have to play a trump if they have one. Otherwise, they can play any card. If a player has trump, and does not play it, he is guilty of reneging A simple thought to remember is, “the more of the red, and the less of the black.” Another thought is to watch who is getting close to 25. This is called keeping the game “IN.” It is okay to play a trump card anytime a player wishes. The Ace of Hearts is always a trump regardless of what is played. The 5 card is the best card when trumps are up, followed by the Jack of Trumps, followed by the Ace of Hearts.

A complete description of the game would take several pages. The game of 25 is best explained by sitting down and playing an actual game with people who have been playing the game for years. In short, hopefully in some way, this has helped to bring the basics of the game to you.

The late Tom McInerney, a long-standing member of the club, donated this article.

GAA Games from Ireland

GAA at the gac

 

Gaelic Football

Gaelic Football can be described as a mixture of soccer and rugby, although it predates both of those games. It is a field game which has developed as a distinct game similar to the progression of Australian Rules. Indeed it is thought that Australian Rules evolved from Gaelic Football through the many thousands who were either deported or immigrated to Australia from the middle of the nineteenth century. Gaelic Football is normally played on a pitch (playing field) approximately 137m long (150 yards) and 82m wide (90 yards).

The goalposts are the same shape as on a rugby pitch, with the crossbar lower than a rugby one and slightly higher than a soccer one. The ball used in Gaelic Football is round, slightly smaller than a soccer ball. It can be carried in the hand for a distance of four steps and can be kicked or “hand-passed”, a striking motion with the hand or fist (similar to serving in volleyball). After every four steps the ball must be either bounced or “solo-ed”, an action of dropping the ball onto the foot and kicking it back into the hand. You may not bounce the ball twice in a row. To score, you put the ball over the crossbar by foot or hand / fist for one point or under the crossbar and into the net by foot or hand / fist in certain circumstances for a goal, the latter being the equivalent of three points. Each team consists of fifteen players, lining out as follows: One goalkeeper, three full-backs, three half-backs, two midfielders, three half-forwards and three full-forwards.

Goalkeepers may not be physically challenged while inside their own small parallelogram, but players may harass them into playing a bad pass, or block an attempted pass. Teams are allowed a maximum of five substitutes in a game. Players may switch positions on the field of play as much as they wish but this is usually on the instructions of team officials. Officials for a game comprise of a referee, two linesmen (to indicate when the ball leaves the field of play at the side and to mark ’45” free kicks and 4 umpires (to signal scores, assist the referee in controlling the games, and to assist linesmen in positioning ’45’ frees). A goal is signaled by raising a green flag, placed to the left of the goal. A point is signaled by raising a white flag, placed to the right of goal. A ’45’/’65’ is signaled by the umpire raising his/her outside arm. A ‘square ball’, when a player scores having arrived in the ‘square’ prior to receiving the ball, is signaled by pointing at the small parallelogram.

Hurling

Hurling is a game similar to hockey, in that it is played with a small ball and a curved wooden stick. It is Europe’s oldest field game. When the Celts came to Ireland, as the last ice age was receding, they brought with them a unique culture, their own language, music, script and unique pastimes. One of these pastimes was a game now called hurling. It features in Irish folklore to illustrate the deeds of heroic mystical figures and it is chronicled as a distinct Irish pastime for at least 2,000 years.

The stick, or “hurley” (called camán in Irish) is curved outwards at the end, to provide the striking surface. The ball or “sliothar” is similar in size to a hockey ball but has raised ridges. Hurling is played on a pitch approximately 137m long and 82m wide. The goalposts are the same shape as on a rugby pitch, with the crossbar lower than a rugby one and slightly higher than a soccer one.

You may strike the ball on the ground, or in the air. Unlike hockey, you may pick up the ball with your hurley and carry it for not more than four steps in the hand. After those steps you may bounce the ball on the hurley and back to the hand, but you are forbidden to catch the ball more than twice. To get around this, one of the skills is running with the ball balanced on the hurley To score, you put the ball over the crossbar with the hurley or under the crossbar and into the net by the hurley for a goal, the latter being the equivalent of three points. Each team consists of fifteen players, lining out as follows: 1 goalkeeper, three full-backs, three half-backs, two midfielders, three half-forwards and three full-forwards.

Irish Language ~ Foghlaim Gaeilge

The Group meets Thursday Evenings via Zoom
6:45 beginners | 7:30 intermediate

For more information: Cait Thopsey – 203-459-9686

UPCOMING EVENTS

LA GAEILGE DAY OF IRISH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

The Irish Language class will once again be presenting a La Gaeilge day of Irish Language and Culture on Saturday, Oct. 2, from 9 am – 1 pm.

Our format will be different, as we plan to have a hybrid style event: Zoom availability as well as in person.

Our day will include the flag raising and National Anthem, a bi-lingual lecture by Patrick Mahoney, Gaeilgoir, historian and author, some break out classes and music. For those attending in person, we will have lunch at 1 pm followed by a sesiun.

Bigi Linn! Join us! For further details
Cait Thopsey 203-459-9686
Robin Griskus 203-233-4979

Seniors Activities

Senior Lunch ~

 

 

Senior Lunch is generally the last Thursday, of the month  at 12 noon.  But please do call for reservations by the Sunday prior to the Lunch.  Cost for lunch $7 for members and $9 for non-members.   Shirley McMenamy 203-268-5083; Sally Savage 203-366-4826.

Are you retired with some free time? Why not get active with the GAC Seniors? Join us for Senior Lunch on the last Thursday of the month.

Celtic Rovers on the Road

for more information:

Ann Ford Roach, 292 Parkwood Rd., Fairfield, CT 06824. Call 203-520-1677

Other Senior Activities include:

Day Trips
Bingo & 50/50 raffle
Movie viewings
Musical entertainment

The Senior group also participates in charity activities for organizations like Operation Hope, Turkey Drive, Under the Bridge, Salvation Army, and the Merton House.

For more info contact Faith Maciver at fmaciver@easct.com or 203-520-8048.

Trad Music Session

Enjoy live trad music led by the Shamrogues on  Wednesdays  from 7-9pm. All musicians are welcomed to sit in on the session. So dust off those instruments, warm up your voice and get energized with Traditional Irish Music.

 

 

St. Patrick’s Hurling & Football Club

St. Patrick’s GFC is the fastest growing Gaelic football club in the tri-state area. The club, headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, was created in 2003 to provide training, instruction, and athletic competition in Ireland’s favorite sport, Gaelic football. Prior to the Club’s inception, children and adults interested in learning or competing in Gaelic football had to travel to clubs located in New Haven or New York. In just a few short years, the Club has grown dramatically from four founding members to over 150 members and five teams in youth (Under 8 through U-14) and adult levels.

 

 

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