Welcome to where the green sparks fly- Irish American Club. March 17, 1978.
People you meet Welcome to where the green sparks fly By Teddle Burnett Journal Intern Did you know that people living in Ireland don't commemorate St. Patrick's Day? Did you also know that they would nq more consider eating corned beef without the - cabbage than they would fly? According to Keith Maroney, "Chief Stewart." manager, treasurer, and bartender for the Irish - American Club since 1965, thaKsthewayltls. "Tire Irishmen at the Club who have lived in Ireland said the Irish never celebrated St. Patrick's Day." Why not? "It's strictly anlrish'American tradition," tradition," he says very matter - of - factly, "Plain corned beef isn't Irish either, like a lot of pcoplo think." According to this Irish - American, you need cabbage to complete the traditional Irish meal. Keith Maroney sits at the bar of his club, lie's a big, six foot tall, burly, smiling Irishman with "mutton chops" and he Jokes a lot. He points to his extra - long side burns and says with a chuckle, "My daughter calls these my lamb chops. I Just grow them up front here so I can keep an eye op 'em." On the club wall, to his right, hangs a sign which says, "God made the Irish Mo 1." Just over the neat - and - tidy Irish club bar sits a green leprechaun made of glass who grins ear - to - ear. ' An Irish slogan also hangs over the bar, saying "Erin Go Bragh" which Maroney translates a few different ways. "A lot of people say it means 'Good Luck.1 Others say it means 'Good Health.' Still others read p - the Irish motto as 'Ireland Forever, ' a translation which is used for New York City's annual St. Patrick's Day parade, according to Maroney. "Really," says Maroney, "I never found anybody who knew exactly what that saying meant." Personally, he feels that it means "God go with you." "That's my philosophical Interpretation Interpretation of it," he says, hands folded and looking serious Maroney has been a member of the Irish - American Club since 1961. He became the club's third president In 1962 because "Tho club's first president, Francis Carey, talked me into It.'' Maroney proudly points Out that theirs Is the only chartered Irish American Club (since Aug. 20, 1958) in Dutchess County. "If you don't get the: charter, the club Isn't worth two - cents, " he says quite frankly The club's current president is Joe McMahon who Is the organization's longest standing first officer. He has been president president since 1969. "He's really a good worker," says Maroney. "Put him in a kitchen and he II stay there for 24 hours I" he adds with a laugh. There are 400, members and aoout 120 active members of the Irish - American Club of Poughkeepsie, according to Maroney. What about the 280 members who aren't active? "A lot of them Just support the organization and pay their dues." he says, " But we never see them." By the way, this club is all male I Asked If any women have tried to Join theiclub, Maroney nods and says, "Wn've had quite V a few over the years They get a little mad because they can't join, that's for sure." Maroney says almost defensively, "The only way wdm,en can be admitted at this point is with a change in the charter and in the by - laws. And that won't happen," he says with a twinkle,, "until they change the Constitution of the United States! Are women allowed on the club premises? "Oh, sure I" says Maroney somewhat surprised by. the question. "They're here all the time. Wives of the members . are here as much as the men I' Maroney claims laughingly that J'You can look In here some nights and you may see only two men at a table of seven women, all playing cards " You must be a male In order to join the Irish - American Club. "The.n you've got tp be Irish on one side of the family as far back as your grandmother or grandfather." grandfather." stipulates Maroney, "If you're Irish on your father's side, you can hold office. These members are called "regular members." "If you're Irish on your mother s side, you can join the club, with all the voting privileges, and you can attend all the social functions and meetings, but you cannot hold office." office." These members, according according to Maroney, are called "associate members." Do the limitations placed on types of membership cause any friction in the club? Nope!" says Maroney simply. Irish - American Club members range In age from 18 to 80, with Rick - Stroms, 18, being the youngest and 60 - year - old John 1 nHEl ibbbMp 'flflLHHHHB i abHHHHHIH ?sKh bbbbbbbT , fBBBBBBBBBBBBBM . 'r ibbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbI LISBBm I , - - . BBBBBBBBv BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBA JBr BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBl uBHBttKin&w - SiiittMNaiiiiiiiii Affjr Siiiiiil Journal photo by Morna Moor You can bot your bottom dollar ...Keith Maroney will bo busy tonight generation " There are some very opinionated opinionated sports fans In the club, however According to Maroney, when they all get together to watch sports on TV, green sparks fly I "As far as religion goes no problem. Polltics - nope. But when it comes to football and baseball, look out I" , Maroney says that the problem Hlckey , a member of the club since 1963 and a lifetime resident of Poughkeepsie , being the club's oldest current member. There are no religious conflicts or distinctions within the club Itself, says Maroney. "No one pays attention to whether you're Catholic or Protestant. Our members are mostly Irish - American, either second or third I Is this "We've got a here who love the Mets percent, I'd say The happens when the other who love another ball the tame room game!" In addition to and socializing, members are Involved events during the according to Maroney. sponsor a Little League "The Irish Club." publish "St. Patrick's annually to benefit Maroney says that Irish - American Club limited budget. It makes donations as it can organizations, one of American Cancer This year's St,, celebration marks the anniversary, says party starts atjl will end at 1 am. morning. "From 11 p m., the club will corned beef and drmks, of course. p m , club members guests will be able to night." "They drink want," says Maroney. have roughly 200 Irish of here in the course We have tp keep the to at least 50 at a time, Maroney says, "because Board of Health ruling Maroney wants to that only members guests will be allowed on St Patrick's Day. says, "As much as anyone In, It's (Continued on