The Celtic Connection

Irish culture history vancouver

Looking back

‘The Celtic Connection was a lifeline for so many’

KEVIN and Stephanie Boggan have been long-time volunteers, not only delivering The Celtic Connection newspaper, but also supporting many other local Irish clubs organizations throughout the Vancouver Lower Mainland.

Dear Maura and Catholine,

BOWEN ISLAND – It was quite sad to read that The Celtic Connection paper is finishing but the way things are we totally understand.

Kevin and I started chatting and remembering all the years Kevin delivered the paper. It was a lifeline for so many folks and it kept us informed on what was happening in our community.

The paper was so helpful when our Clare was diagnosed with cancer in Edinburgh and we were stuck there for five months and folks helped us out.

Also when Clare was trying to raise funds for her cancer treatment in Mexico another article helped her out immensely.

I hope something can be done on the sharing of information online down the road.

We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for all you have done.

All the best,

Kevin and Stephanie Boggan

Bowen Island, B.C.

Delivering The Celtic Connection in the Fraser Valley

JOANNE LONG has worked as a volunteer distributing papers throughout Mission and Abbotsford and beyond for many years.


In 1991, James (Jim) Carbin started to distribute The Celtic Connection. He delivered the papers in Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Mission and Abbotsford.

JOANNE LONG with Jim Carbin at a Feed the Hungry fundraising event at the Wolf & Hound in Vancouver in 2005.

James was a great ambassador for the paper. He would encourage anyone he met to take a copy of the paper. He left them in every restaurant and campsite we visited in our province and beyond.

Later, Bill Duncan from Maple Ridge helped to distribute them in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, leaving James to continue doing it in Mission and Abbotsford.

Upon my retirement from teaching in 2008, we distributed the papers together until James passed away in 2013, and I carried on solo.

Bill Duncan still did this in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge until he became ill and my route expanded to all of the Fraser Valley.

On Saturdays, I often stopped to pick up the papers from Catholine and Tom Butler on my way home from the college.

This also gave me the opportunity to visit the Bill and Kareen Duncan to give them their papers.

When greyhound deliveries stopped, the papers would be delivered to the Duncan house in Maple Ridge and it was always a time for a cup of tea and a chat.

Bill, like James, was a great story teller, we had some great visits. Kareen and I continued to have our tea and chat after Bill passed away last year.

Throughout the years of distributing this paper I have had the opportunity to meet some fantastic people and I will miss connecting with them and every library in the Fraser Valley.

Who will take up the torch?

DAVID O’SULLIVAN, owner of PW Trenchless Construction Inc.

Dear Maura & Catholine:

SURREY – I am sorry to see the end of a great information source for the Celts in western Canada and Pacific Northwest U.S. I feel that of all the young people here now there may be one who will take up our torch and run with it yet.

To keep it going is much easier than to start again but I do not have the energy or the inclination to do so. That is for younger people than me.

Well done and thanks. Hold your heads up high you both did a great job for years.

David O’Sullivan
PW Trenchless, Surrey, B.C.

Canmore Highland Games: ‘You have been an integral link to those within our circle’

THE CANMORE HIGHLAND GAMES billed as “Western Canada’s Premier Highland Games” welcomes thousands of attendees every September. Located in Canmore, Alberta and fringed by the towering Canadian Rocky Mountains, it offers a spectacular location for a full day with piping and drumming, Highland dancing, heavy sports, sheep dogs, beer garden, Celtic vendors and massed bands. Next year will be the historic 30th anniversary and plans are now underway to present the best festival yet in 2021.

‘You have been an integral link to those within our circle’

CANMORE – How do you thank two people who have kept a huge community together and connected in such a wonderful way for almost 30 years? That’s kind of a big deal!

The Celtic Connection newspaper has been an amazing and valuable piece of communication that united our Celtic community in western Canada and the U.S. Pacific NW in a unique way over space and time.

We at the Canmore Highland Games have been able to use it to reach a wide audience with a Celtic focus – the perfect media for sharing our events with the wider Scottish community.

All of us here in Canmore would like to send a big THANK YOU and big virtual hugs to both of you for your hard work and untiring perseverance in helping to keep the Celtic community and culture vibrant, alive and informed for three decades.

You have been such an integral link to those within our circle.

Sending heartfelt wishes for all the best to you both.


Sandy Bunch and Sally Garen,

On behalf of the Canmore Highland Games

and Three Sisters Scottish Festival Society

Canmore, Alberta

The Irish Club of White Rock: “Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my…

“Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends”
– William Butler Yeats

SHARON WOODS and Deirdre O’Ruairc are on the executive of the Irish Club of White Rock. Both have been strong supporters of The Celtic Connection, helping to deliver the papers each month throughout the White Rock/Surrey area.


SURREY – It is with great regret and sadness that the Irish Club of White Rock acknowledges the end of an era with the folding of The Celtic Connection news publication.

It is difficult to articulate the enormous amount of support The Celtic Connection has provided to our club, to the Irish community and Irish diaspora as a whole.

Many an Irish family looked forward to the news in The Celtic Connection, from Vancouver to Seattle.

The Celtic Connection facilitated everything Irish including our association with the Irish Embassy in Ottawa, and Consulate of Ireland Vancouver.

Indeed The Celtic Connection was the Irish ambassadors before we had any consulate at all. They supported many a local business in White Rock and beyond; they connected Irish with Ottawa, Vancouver and Ireland.

Their publication supported our ‘Irish Flash Mob’ which included Irish dancers, musicians and pipers which kick-started the Irish Month (March) in White Rock, spearheaded with the support from Ray Fynes, city staff, library and other groups.

They covered all the news of the Fraser Valley Gaels and their exciting evolvement and growth – for what would the Irish be if not for our sport!

Copies of the publication were provided to our Irish community who in turn delivered copies to the surrounding population.

In those copies was the month’s news. Our events as a club began to grow with the introduction of the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann where Irish classes began once a week.

The club has organized social events, dances, pub quizzes, pub nights and barbecues.  Every Christmas our club holds a dinner aimed at the older participates of our community allowing them a chance to enjoy and connect.

Again, word gets out via The Celtic Connection. Our most famous event organized every year is the St. Patrick’s Day Dinner held at Hazelmere Golf and Tennis Club.

MEMBERS of the Irish Club of White Rock with Irish Consul General Frank Flood and his wife Orla at the club’s 2019 St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

The highlight of the evening is the Irish dancers and of course, Irish music. This event is the highlight of the year where everyone is Irish no matter whence they came.

If not for The Celtic Connection and their enthusiastic support for all that is Irish, the communication and success of these events would not have met their subsequent success.

Maura and Catholine visited our club on many occasions and were guests at many of our events.

The Celtic Connection allowed the Irish a sense of connection and community. Not only did they support the happy times, they also supported us in the heartbreaking times. Their coverage of the Fraser Valley Gaels tragedy, a paramount example.

The Celtic Connection was an example of leadership, caring, interest, involvement and familiarization all the while sustaining our people, while they carve out a new path in a new country while allowing warmth, connection, understanding and communication to emerge and foster.

Showcasing and supporting people, businesses and events were the foundations that facilitated Irish culture while many adapted to a new land.

We have The Celtic Connection to thank for years of recognition and unwavering support. The memories and gratitude will never be forgotten

Go raibh maith agat ó chroí

Heartfelt thank you

Follow us on Facebook • @Irish Club of White Rock

Best Wishes From the Okanagan Irish Society

PEARSE WALSH, President of the Okanagan Irish Society.

President, Okanagan Irish Society

KELOWNA – We were saddened to learn that The Celtic Connection newspaper print edition is coming to an end.

Given the dramatic change in how people receive information today, it is inevitable really that this would eventually happen however it should in no way take away from its amazing success over many years.

It has been an invaluable means of communication for the Irish and Celtic communities here in B.C., in western Canada and in the Pacific Northwest United States.

The scope and depth of articles that were presented was outstanding and kudos many times over to Catholine, Maura, all the staff and volunteers.

You have done amazing work over many years and you are an inspiration to all of us in  keeping us well informed in what was happening throughout the world on Irish matters.

Locally, you encouraged us in our endeavours to keep our Okanagan Irish Society community up and running.

Our mandate is to foster Irish culture among ourselves and to spread our joy of life, our music, our Irish wit and our culture to others and you were always willing to lend us a helping hand when needed.

One of our members wrote the following, “Personally, we loved to see The Celtic Connection in our mailbox. The paper stayed on our side table for weeks, and every now and then one of us would pick it up and again re-read what we had read before. We never tired of the pages and pages of interesting articles and personal notes in the newspaper.”

The print edition of The Celtic Connection will be sadly missed. We look forward to your new website and we’re excited for all of you that the end of the print edition is not the end.

We wish you every encouragement as you go forward with your new website and we wish you continued success and good health!.

Maura agus Catholine – go raibh mile maith agaib.

Outreach to the Welsh Community Through ‘The Celtic Connection’

EIFION WILLIAMS is a long-time member of the Vancouver Welsh Society. His monthly column was a regular feature of The Celtic Connection for over 20 years. He was also a key member of our distribution team helping to deliver issues into the hands of our readers.


VANCOUVER – My association with The Celtic Connection began about 20 years ago after I moved to Vancouver from the B.C. interior and became active in the Vancouver Welsh Society.

One long-time Welsh Society member with whom I quickly struck up a friendship was the late Neville Thomas.

Neville had a wide circle of friends in British Columbia and was involved with several community groups.

He also had many connections with individuals and groups in the United States, the UK and Australia, which made him an excellent source for news or articles of interest to the public.

For many years, Neville and I would meet one afternoon a week in a Burnaby pub with a few other retired and active teachers.

Once a month Neville would bring with him several copies of The Celtic Connection and distribute a copy to each one of us.  The pub was one of the establishments to which he delivered copies of the paper every month.

Neville always spoke very highly of The Celtic Connection and its publishers, Maura and Catholine.

He personally delivered bundles of the paper to various establishments in Burnaby and the Tri-Cities as well as the Cambrian Hall and any venues where Welsh events were occasionally held.

As Neville’s health deteriorated, I took over his deliveries and continued to do so after he passed away in 2017.

But distributing the paper was not the only result of my association with Neville.

On one occasion he mentioned to me that he thought there was insufficient coverage of Welsh events in the paper and asked me if I would write a report on a particular event at the Cambrian Hall, which I did.

The event might have been the annual Gymanfa Ganu, a St. David’s Day dinner or the annual anniversary dinner.

Neville could be very persuasive. At his suggestion, my one report expanded into regular contributions to The Celtic Connection on Vancouver Welsh Society activities and gradually led to my contributing articles of wider interest to the Welsh community.

These included articles on the Welsh immigrant experience in British Columbia, the history of the Cambrian Hall, and events in Wales.

I also reported occasionally on the activities of the Dylan Thomas Circle, with which Neville was very much involved, and the two choirs that had close ties to the Welsh Society, the Vancouver Orpheus Men’s Choir and the Vancouver Welshmen’s Choir.

I also wrote articles on prominent members of the Welsh Society whom I respected and admired.

Among them were Captain Ieuan Lampshire-Jones, a Welsh-born merchant seaman who was presented with a prestigious award by the Association of Marine Surveyors of BC, and

Gareth Prytherch, a Second World War veteran who was a well-known linguist and teacher in Vancouver.

Other highly-respected members featured in the paper were John Pritchard, who once led the Wales and the World Ceremony at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, and Gwyn Evans and Jane Byrne, who were named Celtic Persons of the Year in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

Over the years, I was always encouraged to write reports on Welsh Society activities by the Society’s recent presidents, including Jane Byrne, John Morris and David Llewelyn Williams, as well as the current President, Lynn Owens-Whalen.

They all frequently expressed their gratitude and support for The Celtic Connection’s coverage of the Society’s activities.

Contributing to The Celtic Connection has been an interesting and worthwhile activity during the years of my retirement.

I am grateful to Maura and Catholine for giving me this opportunity and supporting and encouraging my efforts over the years.

Also, I remain grateful to the late Neville Thomas, who initially encouraged my efforts on behalf of the Vancouver Welsh Society and The Celtic Connection.

Above all, on behalf of the Welsh Society and the Welsh community in general, I wish to

express my gratitude to Maura, Catholine and Colleen for giving voice to the activities and achievements of the Celtic peoples of western Canada and the Pacific Northwest over the years.

Thank you for a job well done and best wishes for any endeavours you may undertake in the future.

Diolch yn fawr oddiwrth

Cymdeithas Gymraeg Vancouver

Remembering the Founders of the Irish Cultural Society of Calgary

MARTIN COWMAN is the former President of the Irish Cultural Society of Calgary.

Martin Cowman is a former President of the Irish Cultural Society of Calgary and he shared the following history of the Irish Cultural Centre in Calgary at our invitation.

CALGARY – The Irish Cultural Society (aka ICS) started as the brainchild of Dan Bolger in the early 1970s.

Following a number of informal meetings with like-minded Irish newcomers, a decision was made to incorporate a cultural society wherein the Calgary Irish could express and share their unique heritage and culture with each other and the citizens of Calgary.

Bylaws were drafted as one of the first orders of business to ensure that the ideals of the founders were respected.

The wisdom of wrapping a newly formed society in the “security net” of provincially-approved bylaws has manifested itself in the longevity of the society.

As an example, the ICS symbol – a design from the Book of Durrow, located in Trinity College Dublin – is reflective of the history and culture which is inherent in the true Irish psyche.

THE IRISH CULTURAL SOCIETY of Calgary logo was inspired by the Book of Durrow located in Trinity College Dublin.

The ICS has proven over the last 35 years to be an asset to the growing diversity of Calgary’s cultural mosaic. There is no doubt that the longevity of the ICS is largely due to the solid foundation upon which it was built.

Unfortunately, a number of the original members have passed on to their well-earned rewards. Following are names [in bold print] of some members who have died since formation of the society whose skills & talents contributed to the growth of the ICS in its formative years:

Barney Toye who “trod the boards” on stage sets designed by Bill Torrie and built by Barney and John McCullagh.  Barney and John also designed and built the imaginative Irish float which was used for many years in the Stampede Parade.

Paul Flanagan, who initiated the original meetings with the Alberta Gaming Commission and set up the procedures to qualify for funding from bingos and casinos and how the monies could be spent. These funds were used predominantly to upgrade an abandoned City Parks Department storage facility which the ICS now uses as its  home.

One of the features of the original renovations is the Hickey room on the lower floor to honour Pat Hickey, the original bar manager.

The major space on the main floor was transformed as if by magic from a Parks Department storage area to a formal concert hall complete with stage, bar, industrial kitchen and the requisite washrooms, by judicious usage of funds received from volunteer-driven bingos and casinos not to mention hours of volunteer work in building renovations.

HE BUNRATTY HALL is the main function space at the Irish Cultural Centre in Calgary. It was transformed from a Parks Department storage area to a formal concert hall complete with stage, bar, industrial kitchen and the requisite washrooms.

This spacious venue – the Bunratty Hall – has hosted many memorable functions including St. Patrick’s Day parties, ceilis, theatre productions, New Year celebrations and Christmas concerts.

In recent years, the Society’s Musician Emeritus incorporated a pantomime presentation into the Christmas show, each of which was a big hit with audience and performers. The Bunratty Hall has also served as a venue for numerous big-name concerts promoted by Sean Hayes & Eamon Groome Irish Concerts (

Another stalwart in the early years of the ICS was Jim Cox, remembered fondly for his times on stage with the Wilde Rose Players founded by the late Frank Talbot, which evolved into the Liffey Players, which is still active as a theatre ensemble in Calgary. Jim also served as Treasurer & Bar Director at different times on the Board of Directors.

One of the annual highlights on the Calgary Irish calendar is the St. Patrick’s Day Mass celebration in St. Mary’s Cathedral. The occasion is generally packed with the Calgary Irish and indeed many who are not Irish.

The ICS choir provides the choral contribution to the ceremony and concludes each year with a rousing version of When Irish Eyes are Smiling.

This joyous celebration is followed by light refreshments and entertainment in the parish Hall, hosted by the ICS Care Committee and volunteers.

The impetus for this popular and meaningful celebration was provided by Bernie Smithers and her husband John and family who worked assiduously with the bishop and clergy along with ICS volunteers to ensure its success and to provide a template that has made it possible for others to carry on the joyous tradition.

Denis O’Brien was another early ICS member who contributed to the Irish influence in a burgeoning city. Few Irish in Calgary are aware that Denis stood for hours on the Stampede float playing his fiddle during the long parade, while others sat on horses or rode in vintage cars or horse-drawn buggies. Denis was also known for being part of a group called ‘Your Celtic Friends’ which gave of their time to entertain shut-ins in long term care facilities.

P.S. I generally try to avoid naming people when giving acknowledgments for fear of inadvertently omitting some who deserve acknowledgment. As this discourse was written from memory, I apologize to any I may have omitted and place the blame on my advancing age and its concurrent failing memory!

ISSC: Reflections on 46 Years of History for the Vancouver ISSC

Reflections on 46 Years of History for the Vancouver ISSC

JOHN O’FLYNN is the author of The History of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Canada (2008). He is a long-time supporter of the Irish Sporting and Social Club and many of his GAA reviews and articles have been published in our sports section over the years.


VANCOUVER – Celebrating 46 years of the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club is for me, like a family member who is growing older alongside myself.

I am grateful that my late father Thomas (Kilmeedy, Limerick) and my late mother Betty (nee O’Keeffe – Duagh, Kerry) who came to Canada together in 1962, chose Vancouver.

A mention of note to St. Patrick’s Parish in Vancouver and John Hendry Park, near to 12th and Nanaimo, where the early Irish community often found a place to connect.

These were important meeting places which played a role in the formation of the Vancouver Irish Society in the 1950s, and the Vancouver Sons of Erin Gaelic Football Club in the 1960s.

The presence of the Cumann Lúthchleas Gael in Canada was a validation that a very important part of our cultural legacy lived on in a strong, healthy and vibrant fashion.

I want to mention Joseph Patrick Ryan, a son of Ireland who greatly contributed to the early development of Cranbrook, British Columbia.

In 2009, he was honoured as one of the original seven founders (1884) of the Cumann Lúthchleas Gael during the association’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

Ryan was born in Carrick-on-Suir, Tipperary, in April 1857, and was a solicitor in Ireland before emigrating to Canada in 1899. In Cranbrook, he became involved with the mining industry, was a prominent journalist, and a member of the Knights of Columbus.

We remember this British Columbian, this western Canadian. A number of us from Vancouver visited his grave on a cold December winter in 2009, with other Gaels from all over North America, to celebrate his life when the Association was celebrating 125 years.

It was an emotional and powerful day of gathering, but nothing beat the moment when our Club renamed our hurling team to the JP Ryans. Tributes came in from all corners of the GAA, by the JP Ryan family, because of the Clubs’ decision.

Without the presence of The Celtic Connection, the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club would never have had the opportunities to publish 30th and 40th anniversary supplements.

The publication of The History of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Canada (2008) also received such welcome and support in the research stages by the staff of The Celtic Connection. I will never forget it.

Thank you to all of your culturally-minded advertisers and supporters of the newspaper over the years. To all of you who made this possible, your efforts, unselfish sacrifices and contributions, have enriched our Irish presence and sporting culture here on the west coast.

And, thank you Maura and Catholine for documenting a magical time these many years. You have made life’s journey and our community – all the more glad!

Is mise le meas,     

John O’Flynn

The following is a short history of the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club.

The ISSC is Established and a New Executive Elected

On December 1, 1974, the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club was established when members of the Vancouver Irish community gathered to decide on the name of a new club.

The choice of The Irish Athletic Association was considered but after Pat Donohue proposed The Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club, it was unanimously accepted by all present that night.

The first Executive Committee that was chosen that night were John Dooley (County Armagh), Joe Heaney, Pat O’Connell, Joe McNally, Rene Dooley, J.J. Hyland and Ray Burns.

Sub-Committee members who put their names forward to support the Executive were: John Smith, Pat McHugh, Kevin Lynch, Pat O’Neill, Leonita Lively, Pearse Walsh, Maureen Rudden, Liam and Maureen Cadogan, Tony McDonagh, Paddy Hickey, Eamon Lane, Noel Murphy, Pat O’Neill, Maria Kelly, Michael Glavin, Pearse Ward, John Kelly, Maurice Ward, Pat Leathwood, Anna Macrae, June Connolly, Tommy Roe, John Ryan, Sean Commins, Owen Farrelly, Josephine Lynch, Malachy and Charlotte Swail.

Weeks later the Executive Committee chose as their credo “try and make a new friend at each function” for all future events.

May 1975 – John Dooley was re-elected as President with Joe Heaney, Pat O’Connell, Tony McDonagh, Joe McNally, Leonita Lively and Des Foley.

In April, members travelled to San Francisco for a minor football game match that preceded the Carroll’s All Stars visit.

In June a letter to the Toronto GAA informed them that Vancouver had 35 footballers, 20 hurlers and 60 supporters.

In July, San Francisco came to Vancouver and played at both Brockton Oval and at Swangard Stadium. The ISSC was off to Victoria in August where a game of Camogie was also played that weekend.

1976 – Pat McKenna, J.J. Hyland, Eugene Hilbert, Maureen Cadogan, Des Foley, Leontia Lively, Marian McDaid, Paul Walsh, Pearse Walsh, Marie Kelly, Tony McDonagh, Maureen Rudden, Eugene Halferty, Liam Cadogan.

Sub-Committee Members: Tom Monaghan, Joseph McNally, Sean Commins, Mick Mortell, Charlie McAleese, Mary Bowers, Sean Keogh.

1977 – J.J. Hyland, Leontia Lively, Maureen Cadogan, Eugene Halferty, Maureen Rudden, Pam Barnett, Kathy Walsh, Marian McDaid, Mary Hyland, Charlotte Swail, Pat O’Connell. Sub-Committee Members: Pearse Walsh, Charlie McAleese, Gerard McAleese, Rose McDermott, Frankie Kirby, Margaret Brown.

1978 – Pat O’Connell, Rob McHugh, Maureen Cadogan, Mairead McCabe, Danny Cuddy, Brendan Mulhall, Maureen Rudden, Pam Barnett. Sub-Committee Member: Eamon O’Carroll.

1979 – Danny Cuddy, Kevin Dooley, Mary Fisher, Paddy Todd, Onagh Dooley, Margaret Shiels, Kevin Dunne, Maureen Rudden, Ken Fisher, Mavis Cuddy. Sub-Committee Member: Pam Ferguson.

1980 – Charlotte Swail, Kevin Finnegan, Rob McHugh, Frankie Kirby, P.J. Ruddy, Peter Ferguson, Evelyn Doherty, Mavis Cuddy, Mary Fisher, Pam Ferguson, Yvonne McHugh. Sub-Committee Member: Malachy McKenna.

1981 – Pam Ferguson, Maureen Gerrard, Eileen Finnegan, Mavis Cuddy, Sylvia Keye, Pat Burns, Jeannie Crawford, Yvonne McHugh, Trish Blowers, Kevin Finnegan, Maria Wong, Frankie Kirby.

1982 – Pat Burns, Jeannie Crawford, Onagh Dooley, Sylvia Keye, Bobbie Flint, John O’Connell, Betty Forrestal, Tom O’Flynn.

1983 – Dan Jones, Tom O’Flynn, Anna Meagher, Bobbi Flint, Pat O’Connell, Brendan Burns, Pearse Kelly, Frank Doherty, Mary Hyland, Donela Haynes.

1984 – Dan Jones, Sean Commins, Donela Haynes, Brenda Johnston, John O’Flynn, Paraic Lally, Brendan Finnegan, Brendan Burns, Mary Hyland, Frank Doherty.

1985 – Sean Commins, Pat Burns, Katherine Fagan, Brenda Sloan, Deirdre Lane, Kevin Deevey, Maria Wong.

1986 – Sean Commins, Pat Burns, Katherine Fagan, Kathy Walsh, John O’Flynn, Kevin Deevey, Rose O’Connell, Brenda Sloan.

1987 – Sean Commins, Brendan Burns, Kathy Walsh, Kathy Burns, Kevin Deevey, Deidre Finnegan, John O’Flynn, Katherine Fagan.

1988 – Brendan Burns, John O’Flynn, Deidre Finnegan, Anne Dunne, Kevin Deevey, Katherine Fagan, Margaret Corrigan, Paul Stack.

1989 – John O’Flynn, Brendan Finnegan, Anne Dunne, Brendan O’Leary, Sean Fagan, James Kennedy, Kathy Stack.

1990 – James Kennedy, Brendan Finnegan, Anne Boyle, Brendan O’Leary, John O’Flynn, Sean Fagan, Kathy Stack, Deidre Finnegan, Brendan Lally.

1991 – James Kennedy, John O’Flynn, Tom Butler, Peggy McKenna, Mary Finn, Val Molloy.

1992 – J.J. Hyland, Brendan Burns, James Kennedy, John O’Flynn, Paul Stack, Danny Burns, Sadie O’Brien, Roy Byrne, Kevin Molloy, Paul Walsh.

1993 – James Kennedy, Paul Stack, Liam Mackin, J.J. Hyland, Kevin Molloy, Tom O’Sullivan.

1994 – Declan Byrne, Jim Ritchie, Donny Considine, Liam Mackin, Tom O’Sullivan. 

1995 – Paul Stack, J.J. Hyland, Tom O’Sullivan, Bernard McKenna, Tomas Franklin, Mark Ford, Joe Burke, Christine Anderson, Sadie O’Brien, Richie Cannon.

1996 – Bernard McKenna, Karen McKenna, Karen Franklin, Tomas Franklin, Sean Minagh, Johnny Wilson, Richie Cannon, Kate McNamee.

1997 – J.J. Hyland, Susan Ditchfield, Arlene Bergsma, Grace McLeod, Richie Cannon, Tom Kristensen, Brendan O’Leary.

1998 – J.J. Hyland, Sue Ditchfield, Arlene Bergsma, Paul Stack, Tom Kristensen, Erin Anderson, Michelle Boyle, Paul McGinley, Craig McAlee, Richie Cannon, Tom O’Sullivan.

1999 – Paul Stack, Tony Doyle, Bunny Vidotto, Jen Heal, Liam Mackin, Erin Anderson, Paul McGinley.

2000 – Tony O’Duffy-Brennan, Tony Doyle, Kate McNamee, Colette Donnelly, Cathy Collins.

2001 – Tony O’Duffy-Brennan, Paul Stack, Michelle Boyle, Nuala McLoughlin, Kate McNamee.

2002 – Mickey Hurley, Paul Stack, Kate McNamee, Nuala McLoughlin, Michelle Boyle, Stephanie Boggan.

2003 – Brendan O’Leary, Kate McNamee, James Kirk, Kami Bachana, Paul Stack.

2004 – James Kirk, John O’Flynn, Kami Bachana, Kate McNamee, Sean Quinn, Nuala Cyr, Paul Stack.

2005 – Gavan Connolly, John O’Flynn, Kami Bachana, Sean Quinn, Stephanie Boggan.

2006 – Gavan Connolly, Bernard Ward, Roicin Connolly, Katrina McAndrew.

2007 – Graham Hancock, Marcus Treacy, Katrina McAndrew, Roicin O’Connolly, Olivia O’Hara, Keith Clark, Erin McGinley, Ronan Deane, Ruairi Dolan.

2008 – Marcus Treacy, Erin McGinley, Katrina McAndrew, Roicin O’Connolly, Kate Clark, Ronan Deane, Tara Burns, Ed Carbery, Cian Lawlor, Keith Clark, Jerome O’Sullivan, Cathal O’Loughlin, James Davoren.

2009 – Conor Walshe/Pat Lowney Paudie McGinn, Marcus Treacy, Katrina McAndrew.

2010 – Pat Lowney, Ronan Matthews, Sean Twomey, Katrina McAndrew.

2011 – Pat Lowney, Ronan Matthews, Jerry McCarthy, Marie Dowling.

2012 – Ronan Matthews, Jerry McCarthy, Marie Dowling.

2013 – Ronan Matthews Ronan Deane, Secretaries Tadhg Egan and Jonny Kavanagh.

2014 – Jonny Kavanagh, Elan Park, Jim Fogarty, Greg Deacon, Merriah Cummings, Rosie Slevin, Ronan Deane.

2015 – Tadhg Egan, Secretary Rachel Quinn, Treasurer David Foley.

2016 – Jerry McCarthy, Secretary Johnny Brennan, Treasurers David Foley and Aoibheann Sheils, PRO Rachel Jordan, Development Officer Jonny Kavanagh.

2017 – Tadhg Egan, Treasurer Stephen Halpin, Secretary Colin O’Flynn, Ghirseach Enright, Camogie Rep Kat O’Driscoll, Ladies Football Rep Maria Eviston, Mens Football Rep Mick O’Shea, Hurling Rep Philip Murphy.

2018 – Maria Eviston, Secretary Sofie Gallagher, Treasurer Trevor Farrell, PRO Aislinn Rice, Development Officer Lorraine Muckian, Youth Officer Ronan Deane, Ladies Football Rep Maria O’Sullivan & Ciara McCormack, Camogie Rep Kat O’Driscoll, Men’s Football Rep Christy Grimes & Oisin Daly, Hurling Rep Philip Murphy.

2019 – Maria Eviston, Vice Chair Richard Bradfield, Treasurer Sofie Gallagher, Secretary Aislinn Rice, Registrar Owen O’Driscoll, Development Officer Lorraine Muckian, Irish Language and Cultural Officer Blaithin Noone, Youth Officer Ronan Deane, Ladies Football Reps Aine Coady & Amy O’Sullivan, Camogie Rep Kat O’Driscoll, Mens Football Reps Neil Smyth & Hugh Fox, Hurling Rep Philip Murphy, PRO Niamh Barry.

2020 – Bláithín Noone, Vice Chair Aishling Slevin, Treasurer Aoife O Connor, Secretary Anne Buckley, PRO & Irish Language and Cultural Officer Grainne McDermott, Registrar Owen O Driscoll, Development Officer Dean Lillis, Youth Officer Ronan Deane, Men’s Football Player Reps Rob Tone & Dan Lee, Ladies Football Player Reps Michelle O Connor & Shauna Hilley, Camogie Player Reps – Laura Dwan & Amy Beecher.

Learn more about the Irish Sporting and Social Club at

Irish Heritage Club, Seattle: The loss of The Celtic Connection will be deeply felt in Seattle

JOHN KEANE, Honorary Consul General of Ireland in Seattle has written a regular column in The Celtic Connection since the early 1990s.


SEATTLE – It was on June 19 that the sad news was received from Maura that, after almost 30 years, The Celtic Connection would cease publishing a print edition of the paper.

I know it had to be a difficult decision as Maura and Catholine every month put their heart and soul into producing a quality report on the activities of the Celtic communities around the Pacific Northwest and other stories of interest from ‘across the pond’.

While mainly based in Vancouver, the paper’s loss will also be deeply felt in Seattle and I don’t know what will, or what can, replace it.

I can’t remember when I first started submitting reports to the paper on Seattle’s Irish community, but it was certainly in the 1990s and probably a few years after the paper started.

My wife Maureen also wrote a column on nutrition for the paper for many years and it was always chaotic around the Keane household when the monthly deadline for our columns approached.

Maura McCay was always very good about understanding my need to procrastinate which dictated that my column would always be at least a day late! But somehow it worked and I am going to miss the regular interaction with her and with Catholine.

It was always a labor of love for them and they regularly produced a fabulous and quality monthly with limited resources. But they were wonderful to deal with and I certainly hope they can continue operating The Celtic Connection online.

There was a write-up on Mike O’Malley in the February 1995 issue and another report four years later after his death in February, 1999.

Mike was just one of the great Gaels in the Seattle area who was well-known and liked in GAA circles around the Pacific Northwest, whether it was in Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary.

The reports in The Celtic Connection on his life and death chronicled the life and death of a man who was the heart and soul of Seattle’s Irish community.

I’ll never forget the late Tom Gibbons and Tom Butler bringing a sod of turf from Vancouver to put in Mike’s coffin to show their respect, something that was also reported in The Celtic Connection!

Among the other great Gaels and Irish characters who over the years had write-ups in The Celtic Connection were Tom Quinlan, Johnny Duggan, Mazie McFarland, Mary Charles, Tom Sampson, Kitty Jacobsen, Finian Rowland, Frank Shriane, Eileen Kilgren, Brendan Gallagher, and many others.

All of these have passed on to their eternal reward, in some cases many years ago, but we still have their stories to read in our copies of The Celtic Connection.

The paper has reported over the years on numerous Galway mayors visiting Seattle, on the unveiling of the Galway Stone in Seattle in 2000, on the visits to Galway in 2007 by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and in 2014 by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, and on the 2014 tour of Ireland by the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums.

The Celtic Connection reported on the visit to Seattle in 2005 of Irish President Mary McAleese, the 2015 visit of President Michael D. Higgins, the visit of Taoiseach Enda Kenny in 2013 and that of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in 2017, and visits by Irish Ambassador Anne Anderson in 2014, Ambassador Michael Collins in 2017 and Ambassador Dan Mulhall in 2019.

Most of these events got scant coverage in regular news media but The Celtic Connection was there to make sure there were reports in their paper on what were important events in Seattle’s Irish community.

The Celtic Connection newspaper reported in detail on stories that otherwise would not merit more than a few lines on Facebook, something that disappears after a few hours or days at most.

But I still have copies of The Celtic Connection that reported on Gaelic football games between Seattle and Vancouver from the 1990s.

Where will you be able to go see write-ups on many of the games held in Seattle, Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary over the years, or to find out about who won the Bailey’s Cup in 2000 (it was Seattle!)?

Different folks who moved from Seattle have told me about going online to look up GAA reports and other stories in The Celtic Connection to keep in touch, including Tommy Jordan in Australia, the late Eddie Harkin in Thailand and Pat Coyne in Ireland.

Along with them, I also enjoyed reading about what was happening in the other Irish communities around the Pacific Northwest.

I’m going to miss the gentle nudges from Maura each month to let me know I need to send in my column and the call from Catholine to ask about an ad.

But I do hope regular reports and updates will be posted online on The Celtic Connection website to help to bring together the various Celtic communities that have so much in common.

In addition to our love and loyalty to where we live, we need to still foster that connection to where we came from, whether we were born there or those who came before us were.

The Celtic Connection sought to provide a voice to those communities who might not otherwise be heard and the hard copy of those voices will be missed.

Thank you, Maura and Catholine for your commitment and energy over the years of the paper edition. Míle Beannachtaí.  A Thousand Blessings on you both.

Read more online about the Irish Heritage Club, Seattle at: