November 2019 Seanachai

An Seanachai

Vol. 80, Issue 11, November 2019

 A vote taken by the membership present at our October meeting resulted in a change to our monthly meeting time from the previous 7:00-9:00 pm time frame to a 2:00-4:00 pm in the afternoon. This change is permanent and will apply throughout our meeting year. But our meeting day, the third Saturday of the month, and the meeting place, the Oregon Stamp Society, remains the same. Fortunately, the Stamp Society can accommodate this change that had long been requested by numerous members, especially during the dark winter months. So mark your calendars as this new time frame will be effective during the early fall and late spring months too.

As announced by President Mary Sacksteder at the October meeting, we have acted on the membership’s approval to work with Brainjar on upgrading our web and Facebook pages with the intent to reach other social media sites popular with various age groups. As important as the message going out is, we will also get feedback coming in as to how we are being perceived and what changes we may want to make in our message. As noted in last month’s newsletter, Brainjar has a number of non-profit clients and has offered us a vastly reduced price in keeping with our non-profit status  So, we have paid the initial fee of $1,000 and will be paying $400 per month for as long as we choose to have Brainjar continue to upgrade our web page, Facebook account, handle our social media posting and more. As Mary stated in her initial introduction of Brainjar,  “well enough” is not “good enough,” and we hope to see a substantial return on our message – meaning increased interest and membership and cross-pollination with other Irish groups. 
Twelve members and friends of the All Ireland Cultural Society, along with 44 other volunteers, worked on Saturday, October 12, from 1:00-3:00 pm at the Oregon Food Bank. During that shift 10,385 pounds of potatoes were repackaged, representing 8,654 meals or 155 meals packaged by each volunteer. It was a great deal of fun and AICS President Mary Sacksteder suggested that we volunteer again next year. It was a wonderful way to prepare for the holiday season and to reflect on the bounty of our own circumstances. Many thanks to: Mary Sacksteder; Larry McKinley; Jim O’Connell; Molly McGuire; Anne Doherty; Carol Cummings; Christine Seed; Patrick Seed; Patsy Lee; Peggy and Tom Scheideman and especially Mary Rose Kerg who organized and provided the description of this very charitable activity.
A great way to spend a Saturday, even if you don’t have a Celtic bone in your body. The enticing aromas of Celtic food, particularly cock-a-leeky and bubble and squeak soup, permeated the venue but sold out too quickly. It was truly first come, first served. Multiple vendors displayed their wares so if you were searching for a wee gift for Christmas you would have had a good selection. The jewelry was particularly outstanding and such a large selection of Celtic items wouldn’t be found in any store. Perhaps it could be found online but at the festival you could see and feel it. Talent galore was on display, and not just in the jewelry craft. Some of our members were performing, including Christina and Victoria White who demonstrated Irish step dancing, and Maldon and Phil Meehan who demonstrated sean nos dancing. Newest AICS member Mary Carey was also on stage with an Irish song and the young dancers from the Oregon Irish Dance Academy demonstrated how much they have learned, to the delight of parents and onlookers.

A dedicated group of AICS members worked our tables, led by Julie and Jim O’Connell pictured below. Julie cleverly made some delicious scones to attract browsers to our table – and it worked! As you can see in the background of the photo numerous AICS events were highlighted and enticed Comhaltas member Mary Carey, seated at the next table, to join. Early birds Jim and Julie were reinforced by Louise Martell and Mary Rose Kerg who stayed until the remains of the day were done. A truly enjoyable and informative day.

Julie and Jim O’Connell                                                            


At the new time (2 PM-4 PM) on Saturday, November 16, we will bring back an old AICS autumn tradition – Bingo! The new twist for bingo is that it will be combined with collecting food and raising cash to help St. Birgitta’s parish feed its more needy parishioners. Here are the details for the AICS Turkey Trot Bingo –
 * The first three games will be conventional bingo. Each card will cost $1 or the equivalent in non-perishable packaged or canned food. The prize for each of these games will be $2.

* The last game will be a “blackout” game. That is, all the squares must be filled to win.  Cards for this round will cost $2 each. The prize for this game will be a $20 Fred Meyer gift certificate to cover the cost of a turkey.

 * Suggested food donations are high protein items such as tuna, peanut butter, and beans.  Also, items for a Thanksgiving feast are welcomed – cranberry sauce, canned sweet potatoes, stuffing mix, etc.

So for $5 or a bag of groceries members can have an evening of fun while doing good. Members can keep their winnings or donate them back to the food fund.

Let’s make this a successful event! Louise Martell, “Bingo Master.”                               

 Yes, since grammar school we have been inculcated with the idea that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims on Massachusetts Bay in November 1621. But is that accurate? There are some historians who claim it’s not, nor is it a story of the “good Indians” gathering around the fire to share their provisions with the starving Pilgrims. One historian, the Reverend Thomas Prince, who compiled “The Annals of the Year 1631,” asserted that the only true aspect of that tale is that the Pilgrims were starving. Who is the Reverend Thomas Prince? He’s an eminent 18th century New England historian who establishes the first Thanksgiving as occurring 10 years after the Pilgrims arrived and that it occurred in February of 1631. He writes:

 As the winter came on provisions are very scarce (in the Massachusetts Bay), and people necessitated to feed on clams and mussels and ground nuts and acorns, and those were got with much difficulty during the winter season…. And many of the fears of the people that Mr. Pierce, who was sent to Ireland for provisions, is either cast away or taken by the pirates. Upon this a day of fasting and prayer to God for relief is appointed (to be the 6th of February), the very day before the appointed fast, in comes the ship LION,  Mr. William Pierce, master, now arriving at Nantasket laden with provisions. Upon which joyful occasion the day is changed and ordered to be kept (on the 22nd) as a day of Thanksgiving.

Historian Michael O’Brien believes that this account, and in the absence more convincing evidence as to how the tradition began, it’s fair to conclude that the holiday began with this generous gift of food from Ireland.

So then, how did we wind up with a November commemoration if it really happened in February? Prince is silent as to that but some commentators have suggested that it’s held around the fourth Thursday in November in keeping with European tradition, as that was a day earmarked for giving thanks for that year’s harvest. But, Prince does go on to write that Ireland was the only country in the world to send help to the hungry Pilgrims, despite the fact that the settlers had only left England a decade earlier. Perhaps the Irish are responsible for Thanksgiving!!
 Sharing all that “IRISH” food with the native American population !!!      
Next to our St. Patrick’s Day Party there is no more enjoyable event in the AICS calendar than our Christmas luncheon. This year, like last, we will be dining at the Monarch Hotel from 12- 4:00 pm on Sunday, December 8, 2019. The address for the Monarch Hotel is 12566 SE 93rd Avenue, Clackamas, OR 97015, right near the Clackamas Town Center. The cost for members is $25 per person, non-member guests are $30 per person. Stories, gifts, carols and general glee will abound. The deadline to purchase tickets is 11/30.  RSVP to, or call the club phone at 503-286-4812. All reservations must be paid by 11/30/19. 

 This is the fabulous feast that awaits you. As you will notice there is no alcohol on the menu. You are welcome to visit the bar on the main floor and bring whatever drink you purchase to the dining area. The afternoon is hosted by Mary Sackteder and Rose Ann Ranft. Please let them know you are coming – hope to see you there.
Good and Welfare
Some of our members are not feeling up to par as we enter this holiday season. Neither Helen Grealish nor Juli Carty are particularly well. Below is a picture of Juli taken in healthier times. She is the woman on the right in dark clothing.

Irish Ladies Out to Lunch!!!

 Save the Date for AICS Activities:                                                        

November General Meeting
Saturday, November 16th at 2:00PM
Stamp Society Building
4825 NE 33rd Ave.

Christmas Dinner Party
Our Christmas Party will be held on SUNDAY, December 8th, beginning at noon at the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas.  
 See above for details
Genealogy Committee
Contact Don Anderson ( if interested in joining the Genealogy Committee. 

Pub Social
A pub Social has been tentatively scheduled for the 26th of January. No venue has been determined yet.  

Celtic Events

 Winifred Horan with Utsav Lal and Cary Novotny
All Ireland fiddle champion and all Ireland step dancer Winifred Horan will be in concert on Saturday, November 9, 2019, 7:30 pm at Winona Grange, 8340 SW Seneca Street, in Tualatin.         
A former member ofCherish the Ladies and co-founder of Solas, she will be accompanied by Utsav Lal and Cary Novotny. 
Admission is $15-$30. Early discounts at or call 800-838-3006   
Hibernians Present Tim Birr 
If you missed Tim Birr’s very informative presentation at our October AICS meeting on how the Irish invaded Canada, you will have a chance to hear this very unusual aspect of our history at the November Hibernian meeting to take place at Kells (downtown) on Tuesday, November 19th at 5:30pm. Tim puts a lot of thought and preparation into his presentations and they are very informative. Do come out and support Tim, it’s well worth hearing again.           

Irish Cruises

Gertie Byrne’s Mexican Cruise

An all Irish cruise of the Mexican Riviera leaving from and returning to San Diego between February 22-29, 2020!!!  Perfect for west coasters. Yes, 95 % of the talent on this ship is brought out from Ireland by well-known entertainment entrepreneur Gertie Byrne, originally from County Mayo. These are the ports of call:

Cabo San Lucas
Oasis Baja (California)
Puerta Vallerta

If you would like more information on this cruise please call 1-800 -356-4713 or go to this web site: – it has a complete list of entertainers and pricing.

 Andy Cooney’s 2020Musical Cruise
Andy Cooney is hosting a seven-day cruise through the inner passage to Alaska, leaving Seattle, WA on May 31st and returning to Seattle on June 7, 2020. Cruising is aboard the Emerald Princess. Ports of call are: Ketchikan; Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier; Juneau; Skagway and Brirish Columbia, Canada. Inside cabins are $ 1299 per person; Oceanview are $1799 per person; and Balcony is $2149 per person. Taxes, fees and port charges are $243.14 and airfare is not included in the pricing. For more information call Travel professionals at 800-724-9511 or 845-651-4441. They can also be reached by e-mail at
Joanie Madden 2020 Cruise
For those of you who’d like to venture a little further from home, Joanie Madden and Cherish the Ladies are running a western Mediterranean cruise from October 18th to 25th aboard the Norwegian Line’s Epic. This cruise is designed for those who love to dance. Set dancing teacher Pat Murphy and Comhaltas  ceili dancing teacher Paul Keating will be on board for those “taking their first steps.”

Because Cherish the Ladies is a traditional band the dance music will feature set and ceili dancing tunes, but bands for ballroom dancing will be playing too. The cruise leaves from Barcelona, Spain travels to Naples/Pompeii, Italy, goes on to Civitavecchia/Rome, then to Livorno/Florence/Pisa, heads back to Cannes, France and Palma Majorca Spain before heading back into Barcelona. For more information go to: 

Irish Dance – Weekly Events  
Monday:   Sean nos dancing taught by Maldon Meehan, advanced class at 7:00pm at the dance studio  the Audiocinema Building, 226 SE Madison Street, Portland Oregon and  beginner class at 8:00 pm at the same location. Fees: $20 at the door or $15 for a six week session if paid in advance.         

Set Dancing and lessons at Betty Woerner’s, 2912 SW Arnold Street, Portland, OR 97219, every Monday from7:00-9:00pm. Call Betty at 503-244-1593 for more information or directions.

Tuesdays:  Tir Eoghain ceili class, 7:30-9:30PM at St. Therese Multi-Purpose Center, 1260 NE 132nd Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97230.  Please note that this is not only a different venue but a new night as well.    
Thursdays:  Winds of Donegal, ceili dancing, 7-9PM at the Winona Grange, 8340 SW Seneca St., Tualatin, $5 fee.  Beginners always welcomed! 
Irish Dance – Monthly Events
Ceili Mor:  1st Friday of the month. 8-11PM (Doors open 7:30PM), October through May, Winona Grange, 8340 SW Seneca St., Tualatin. $12 adults, $10 students (Age 12 and up), veterans, and seniors 65 and over $10.00. 
For more information please go to SandAIrish or

Irish Jam Session:  2nd Sunday of the month. 3-6PM, Winona Grange, 8340 SW Seneca St., Tualatin.  For more information, contact Sam Keator at

Ceili of the Valley: 2nd Friday Ceili. 8-11PM (Doors open 7:00PM, lesson about 7:15), Year Round, VFW Hall, 630 Hood St NE, Salem.  $10 General, $8 CVS Member, $5 students (age 11 and up), Kids 10 and under are free, $30 Family.   For more information please go to

Ceili of the Valley also hold classes every Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:30 at the same location.  $5 per class

Comhaltas Ceili: 4th Friday of the month – this month’s ceili will be at  the Sellwood Community House, 1436 Spokane Street, Portland. Please check with Phil Meehan at for any questions. 

If you have a business or a service to offer to our members, let us advertise for you.  We can print your business card for $25 per year.  An Seanachai goes to more than one hundred local households.   For more information about this incredible bargain send an e-mail to Dorothy Foley at       

Essential Information for the All-Ireland Cultural Society 

AICS of Oregon
PO Box 3411
Portland, OR  97208
Telephone:  503 286 4812
Board of Directors 2019-2020
President:  Mary Sacksteder
Vice President:  Jim O’Connell
Recording Secretary:  Julie O’Connell
Corresponding Secretary:  Helen Grealish
Treasurer: Molly McGuire
Directors:  Brendan Kerg, Mary Sacksteder
Trustees: Shirley Hahn, Dorothy Foley 

Left to right:  Mary Sacksteder, Jim O’Connell, Louise Martell, Caroline Fogartt, Shirley Hahn, Molly McGuire, Dorothy Foley, Julie O’Connell, Brendan Kerg.  Missing:  Colleen Spiering, Helen Grealish.  Editor of An Seanachai:  Dorothy Foley 
          Book Club:  Julie O’Connell
          Communications:  Helen Grealish
          Genealogy:  Don Anderson
          Scholarship:  Mary Sacksteder and Jim O’Connell
          Sunshine:  Patsy Lee
          St. Patrick’s Celebration 2019: Bill Fogarty, Brendan Kerg and Mary Rose Kerg
Consulate General of Ireland:
          Robert O’Driscoll, Consul General of Ireland
          100 Pine Street
          San Francisco, CA  94111          Tel:  415 392 4214
          Fax: 415 392 0885

Honorary Consulate of Ireland
          John F. Keane
          7511 10th St SW, Unit #1
          Edmonds, WA  98026
          Tel:  425 582 2688

AICS Website 
The AICS is a federally recognized 501(3)(c) non-profit public benefit cultural organization.  The AICS is listed with the State of Oregon as a non-profit corporation.  Donations and contributions made to the AICS may be tax deductible for income tax purposes.


September 2018 Events

The Genealogy Group meet at 6 p.m. on September 15th at the Oregon Stamp Society Building, 4828 NE 33rd in Portland.  For more information please call 503-286-4812.  Thank you.

The September regular meeting and social will start at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 15, 2018 at the Oregon Stamp Society Building, 4828 NE 33rd in Portland.  More later on the cultural presentation.  Call 503-286-4812 for more information.  Thank you.


Appreciation Dinner

The Annual Appreciation Dinner will be Sunday, May 20, 2018 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Old Spaghetti Factory, 0715 SW Bancroft Street in Portland.  Since this is a private party, reservations are necessary.

Food choices are:

Spaghetti with meat sauce                                                                                                      Spaghetti marinara sauce (veggie option)                                                                            Lasagna                                                                                                                                            Chicken Marsala

Cost to AICS Members:  $20    Cost to Non-Members:  $24

Make check payable to AICS and mail to AICS, P. O. Box 3411, Portland, OR 97208-3444 by May 14, 2018.  Questions, phone 503-254-1377 or e-mail  Thank you.

January Pub Social

The January Pub Social will be held on Sunday afternoon, January 28, 2018, from 4 p.m. at Whelan’s Irish Pub.  The address is 11709 SE Division in Portland.  Whelan’s Irish Pub has a reputation for excellent food and they have a full bar.  Plenty of street parking.  

This informal get together is “no host” so food is available for purchase from the menu.  Drinks are on you too!

The owner opened this business in the last year.  He is from west Cork, so let’s come together and support his business.

January High Tea

Please join us for the High Tea at 6 p.m. on Saturday, January 20th.  The place to be is the Oregon Stamp Society Building, 4828 NE 33rd Avenue in Portland.  You will be able to taste various teas and enjoy sandwiches, sweets and savories.

Following the tea, and a short business meeting, Mr. Don Anderson will speak not only about his use of DNA to find his “biological” parents but update us on his experiences as an author of Paper and Spit.

Please note that the event starts at 6 p.m.

All are welcome.