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IRISH AMERICAN CLUB, WEST SIDE, INC.

IRISH AMERICAN CLUB, WEST SIDE, INC.

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.