The Muskegon Irish American Society was founded in 1973 by many interested in the history, culture, and people of Ireland, who were inspired by an Irish-born architect and community activist in Muskegon, Tom Browne. The first officers were Tom Browne (Pres.), James Mullally (Vice-Pres.), Dennis Delaney (Sec.), Jack Crowe (Treas.), and Richard Corcoran (Financial Sec.). In those early days and through the ensuing years many family names became and have remained members. Names like Allen, Bartlett, Beard, Bly, Bolhuis, Borchert, Bowne, Bums, Buckley, Chambers, Charron, Clarke, Crane, Crimmins, Cronenwett, Crowe, Delaney, Donovan, Fagan, Farmer, Frantz, Funk, Gorbach, Hanley, Hartz, Hayes, Hill, Heimler, Hogan, Hynes, Kendra, K1eaveland, Kufta, Kutches, Lafferty, Langlois, Unck, Majeski, McCabe, McElligott, Merano, Morrell, Muenstermann, Mullally, Murphy, Nielsen, Nolan, Nordhoff, O’Brien, O’Toole, Powers, Plummer, Reardon, Roach, Ruud, Sander, Shields, Starr, Soltis, Taylor, and Wum. In addition to its regular meetings, the club has engaged in special activities.
Some highlights: In the 1970′s, our club established a close relationship with the St. Mary’s Choir of Dublin. Our club hosted the choir in Muskegon on two occasions, with performances at the Frauenthal Center. In turn, several of our members visited and stayed with members of the choir in Dublin. Some of our members still stay in close touch with friends in Ireland whom they met in those days. In the 1980′s our club helped host the first visit of Tony Kenny’s Jury’s Cabaret Show in Muskegon. We also became associated with the Irish American Partnership, a charitable organization with many worthwhile projects in Ireland. We sponsored two golf tournaments which raised funds in support of those projects.
In the early 1990′s our club undertook its most ambitious fund-raising project to date. Our President, Mary Cronenwett, requested Denny Delaney and Neil Mullally co-chair a committee which raised more than $20,000 to purchase a copy of the Book of Kells. Our club donated the Book of Kells to the Hackley Library. This is the only copy of the Book of Kells on permanent display in a public library in the Western Hemisphere!
Our club has sponsored several trips to Ireland over the years. As we move into a new millennium, we look to our new members to carry on the justifiably proud tradition of the Muskegon Irish American Society!
Currently, The Muskegon Irish American Society meets four times a year, usually at a different location. Each gathering has a different theme incorporating a social hour, dinner, barbeque or delicious desserts and a very short business meeting, followed by a program. This usually includes an Irish speaker, an Irish film or a program.
The Board of Directors meets four times a year, or more often, to plan upcoming events, discuss newsletter content, and coordinate club activities. Board members are selected and appointed from the membership at large. Election of officers is done at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors, held each year in the Spring.
Contact information for the Muskegon Irish American Society AND the Michigan Irish American Hall of Fame is: Kevin Donovan , President of the Muskegon Irish American Society, Muskegon, Michigan 231.571.2033.