The IRISH AMERICAN CLUB, WEST SIDE, INC. (est. 1931) maintains recreational facilities and meeting rooms and sponsors social and cultural events for members of Cleveland's Irish-American community. With 3,300 adult members in 1994, the club was the largest Irish organization in Cuyahoga County. The club developed from the work of 2 earlier organizations that promoted independence for Ireland: Clan na Gael and the Terence MacSwiney Club. In Oct. 1931 the West Side Irish American Club was formally organized to provide a social center for and to promote an interest in Irish history and culture within the local Irish-American community. Located on the 2nd floor of a building at W. 64th and Detroit Ave., it was incorporated on 20 Sept. 1940. Patrick T. Lynch (1896-1975), the club's first and long-time president, served in that capacity 1931-46 and 1948-67. The annual St. Patrick's Day parade was a major event on the club's calendar, and 2 marching units—a fife-and-drum corps complete with bagpipes and a ladies' drill team—were formed early in the group's history. In 1950 the organization bought the former Madison Theater, 9613 Madison Ave., and remodeled it to include a hall, a bar, a library, a kitchen, and meeting rooms. The new home of the club opened on New Year's Eve 1951. In 1958 the club began to hold an annual Feis, a reunion designed to resemble the ancient Irish Feisanna, with competitions in sports, music, and oratory. During the 1960s, club events raised funds for a variety of projects, including the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library and the work of missionaries in the Philippine Islands. It closed its Madison Ave. center in 1987, opening a new facility 3 years later in Olmsted Twp., containing a ballroom, pavilion, and Gaelic football field. Since 1992 the club has sponsored the annual Ohio Irish Festival.

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