Kansas News

The Fr. Bernard Donnelly Division, Johnson County No. 1, again manned the gates for Kansas City’s ninth annual Irish Festival. The Fest is always held on Labor Day weekend and, again this year, was located in the area of Kansas City’s Crown Center, just south of downtown.

Kansas City’s Irish Festival claims to be the third largest Irish festival in the U.S., and includes many of the best Celtic and folk bands available in the U.S. or Europe. Combined with great food and Boulevard Beer, a KC home brewery, the music makes for the best festival in the city every year.

After a great Friday night session with record attendance, the skies opened up on Saturday and repeatedly drenched the KC Irish. Sunday proved to be beautiful, and attendance records were smashed as Kansas City’s very own “The Elders” closed out the festival that evening.

The Donnelly Division provided member manpower for the KC Irish Fest’s only “Hibernian Gate.” Our Brothers from the Patrick Pearse Division in Kansas City, Missouri, and the AOH Division in St. Joseph, Missouri, also assisted at the Fest gates. While manning the “Hibernian Gate,” the Donnelly Division enjoyed many encounters with Brothers from several other AOH Divisions in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Illinois and Wisconsin, including Joe Casey, State Board President for Ohio. This was a real treat for members of the only active Division in Kansas as we rarely have the opportunity to interact with other Hibernians from outside the KC metropolitan area.

We found our Brothers to be a great reflection of the motto and hope to see them every year on the frontier in KC. The Donnelly and Pearse Divisions participated in the Fest’s Irish Mass on Sunday morning with the Donnelly men bringing in the U.S., Irish and Vatican flags while the Pearse men brought in banners for the four provinces. The AOH was well represented and many Mass attendees remarked, as with every year, that the AOH’s mix of kilts, flags and banners make for a very special and uniquely Irish celebration of the Mass.

Kansas News

The Father Bernard Donnelly Division of Kansas, located in the greater Kansas City Metro area and the only formal Hibernian group in the state, recently held a special meeting to induct three new members into our group. We want to welcome David West, Matt Fitzmorris, and Rusty Murray into our group. We know that they will be great additions for us. This brings our membership to over 70 now.

We also recently completed our second annual AOH Garage Sale. We did this in cooperation with and on the grounds of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. Our members cleaned out their basements, garages, and closets. We split the proceeds with Catholic Charities and what we didn’t sell we donated to them. It was a win-win for both organizations.

Like many parts of the country, we have endured some brutally hot days this summer. One of our longtime members, Charlie Lamonte, came up with the wonderful idea to take up a collection and donate money to the Bishop Sullivan Elder Cool program. Through this program they donate air conditioners and fans for the poor and elderly. Thanks to Charlie’s efforts we raised $325. The people at The Bishop Sullivan Center were extremely grateful and touched.

 

We have two important events in September for which we are preparing. The first is our second annual Irish Classic Golf Tournament. We do this in conjunction with our brothers on the Missouri side, The Padraig Pearse Division, and the Kansas City Irish Center. Proceeds from the tournament benefit all parties.

The second event is our participation in the annual Kansas City Irish Fest. This festival of Irish song, dance, and culture has grown to be a major attraction in the Kansas City area. It is held on the grounds of the beautiful Crown Center Pavilion. It attracts crowds estimated at 50,000 people over the Labor Day weekend. The festival has counted on us to man one of the gates and beverage token booths for so long now that last year they designated our gate “The Hibernian Gate”. We have also humbly accepted the honor over the last several years to be both the ushers and the honor guard for the Mass that is held on Sunday on the grounds of the festival. We look forward to another wonderful KC Irish Fest.