CELEBRATING OVER 65 YEARS
Hearts and Flowers
Treasa Beyer Matysek
Over the years, core events are still celebrated by the EIC: our Céilí dances with live Irish music, our Memorial Mass and participation in the St. Patrick’s Parade and Maryland Irish Festival.
The club has many activities based on the interests of current members with new events continuously added. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when in-person dances could not be held, the club featured online Zoom classes in the Irish language and genealogy and hosted an Irish book club. We look forward to Fall 2021 when we can resume our Céilís and Irish Festival booth to once again be “Where The Irish Meet.“
1950’s Irish Immigration
The 1950s saw a wave of Irish immigration to the United States due to scanty employment opportunities in Ireland. Those who came to Baltimore met in each other’s homes, enjoying chatting, card games, music and sandwiches. In the early days, the same family names appeared over and over as immigrants “brought over” their relatives who found spouses here (and even jobs at Baltimore Gas & Electric and A&P). That’s why our Club motto is “Where The Irish Meet.”
1956 EIC Was Founded
In 1956, Irish natives Rev. Patrick Begley, Eileen Kubricky and Peggie Tighe invited friends to form an Irish social club. In the next meeting, hosted by John and Mae Hanberry, the club’s first officers were elected. As more people joined, the meetings grew too large for private homes, so the Emerald Isle Club met at St. Catherine of Siena Hall and later rented space in Turners Hall. American dance tunes alternated with Irish ones, but it became customary to end the evening with the American and Irish national anthems.
1959 Non-Profit Status
Dancing was also being performed outside the formal Club gatherings. Members began to learn Irish set dances and soon they were performing at Club events and Baltimore’s All Nations Festival. In 1959, by-laws were drafted and the club became incorporated. Years later, our club became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Today – A Club for Everyone
Although dance instruction was informal in the beginning, later EIC dances became successful due to talented Irish dance teachers like Mary Starrs, Annette Cribben, Mike Denney, Linda McHale Poggi, Noelle Ross O’Toole, Dan Stanton and many others, whose classes encouraged dancers to attend the Emerald Isle Club Céilís.