A very generous donation was made by Mr. Eugene Brennan, of Brennan Building Recyclers Ltd, 114 Tirangi Road, Lyall Bay, towards this event, and for this we offer our sincere thanks.
Despite the torrential rain, over 130 friends gathered on Saturday 28th February, at 2pm, to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the Wellington Irish Society.
Firstly there were apologies from the Irish Consul in Canberra, Mr Mairtin O’Fainin, who was unable to attend, and also from Rev. Father Clancy, our Patron from 1980 until 1995.
Our notice was then drawn to the Harp, proudly displayed over the Entrance to the Club, though out of sight for a number of years, some snooping was done, and once again this has pride of place. Unknown to many, this was made by Cecil Wallace, and donated to the Club in 1980. Cecil was a fitter and turner by trade, and he also did all the iron work for the original tables we had in our Club rooms. A man of many talents, Cecil played the Bagpipes, and had strong connections with the Ceili Band. Cecil stood, to receive the ovation.
Peter Stewart, another name unknown to many, yet all who have entered the Wellington Irish Society Club rooms, have seen his work. The beautiful painting proudly adorning the wall, was done by Peter. He told us of painting it for the 1968 Feis in Karori, hence it’s size, to be backdrop for that particular stage. He also told us of the difficulty, again because of size, of having to do it section by section, so never seeing it, entirely until it’s completion, Peter receiving a hearty round of applause.
The First President of the Wellington Irish Society, was William Myers, and his son Emmett Myers travelled from Auckland to be present and spoke, remembering those club members who are no longer with us, a moving moment. He was presented with a copy of the First Annual report, showing his father’s name, and also on that report was Miss Hannah Myers, William’s sister, later to become Mrs. Standish, and two of her daughters were also present, so this became a gathering of the Myers family, and that in itself was something special.
Finally our Honorary Consul General, Mr. Rodney Walshe, Officially Opened the Celebrations, and said that, of all the Irish Clubs that Irish dignitaries visit, it is the Wellington Club rooms, that stay in their rememories, and that would be because of the impression made by Peter Stewart’s painting. Mr Walshe then generously offered $1000, with the idea of possibly erecting an Honours Board, with a Plaque, denoting the 70th Anniversary of the Club. We were most surprised to hear of this generous Donation.
On the Sunday about 60 gathered again, for a light lunch, and time to finally say goodbye.
Our thanks to Noreen and Graeme Moody, working behind the scenes, in the kitchen, and the variety of finger food they produced, so beautifully presented, and to the Young Ladies, who were at the door to greeted our Guests, and then so diligently served the food. To Peter Hannigan and Sam Hautapu, our grateful thanks, for the hours you both spent, attending to our every need.
Altogether a very successful weekend, bringing old friends together again, for many it will be the last time, sharing memories, of those happy days, when we were all young, foot loose and fancy free.