Madigan Muses: Irish Hospitality
by Marilyn Madigan
The Irish are known for their hospitality, and the Cleveland Hibernians demonstrated it at the 2021 Convention. The theme of the Convention was “Fun in 21” with events highlighting Rock and Roll.
On Friday evening, the dance floor was filled with Hibernians, many dressed in poodle skirts to the fantastic music of Kennedy and Riley. The Red Carpet was rolled out Saturday evening for the Closing Dinner, honoring Cleveland as the Home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Hibernians were treated as if they were being inducted into the hall, when they were met by Ellen “Gwen Stefani” Lavelle and Jim “Elton John” McGuirk.
Thanks to Ohio Irish News Editor John O’Brien, our own paparazzi, for making sure that the evening will be remembered with fantastic photos. The Murphy Irish Arts Dancers and the Portersharks provided the entertainment for the evening with a special treat when Jim McIlwee sang.
In 2020, the National Convention of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians was held virtually. The State of Ohio had a role in that Convention with the AOH in Youngstown and the LAOH in Cleveland being the Virtual Headquarters. It is fitting that the first in person Convention in the country was held in the State of Ohio and in Cleveland.
We were honored that both National Presidents were in attendance: Danny O’Connell of Ohio and Karen Keane of New York. Hibernians traveled from Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania to attend this first Convention since the pandemic.
Convention Dreams Come True
Three years ago, Pat Lavelle and Ray McGann had a dream to host the 2021 Convention. A special thank you to them for their vision, dedication and commitment to making this a reality. The Convention was fantastic and successful due to their leadership. They assembled a great committee that hosted an event that will be very hard to beat.
As the song states “the heart of Rock and Roll….Cleveland” and another song “We didn’t start the fire”, this Convention will be memorable. Yes, there was a fire, with Avon, Bay Village, North Olmsted, Rocky River and Westlake Fire Departments answering the call. The Staff of the Hotel was fantastic in responding to this situation, even bringing water and cookies to their guests in the parking lots.
We were able to return in a little over an hour, without any major delays to that night’s event. Great hotel, staff, food and most importantly the professionalism of our hotel representative Stephanie Irelan. The Westlake Doubletree was a fantastic location and is highly recommended.
The Convention opened with a Mass celebrated by Fr. Thomas Mahoney, LAOH Our Lady of the Rosary Division Chaplain, and Concelebrated by AOH National and State Chaplain, Fr. John Keehner.
Following the Mass, a Joint Session was held; Cincinnati was announced as the Site of the 2023 Convention. At the conclusion of the Joint Session, the members attended their individual Conventions.
The Cleveland Hibernians were honored that two of our members were elected to the State Boards: John Myers as AOH Director and Mary Jo Rawlins as State Treasurer.
The Installation of the newly elected State Boards was held after the Closing Mass, celebrated by Fr. Keehner and Concelebrated by Fr. Tom Mahoney and Fr. Francis Walsh.
Congratulations to the 2021 Elected State Board Officers
President Bob Harper of Cincinnati President Teresa Harris of Columbus
Vice President Dennis Parks of Akron Vice President Nicky Parks Norris of Akron
Secretary Pete Chyrstal of Medina Secretary Cindee Case of Summit County
Treasurer Liam Lehn of Youngstown Treasurer Mary Jo Rawlins of Cleveland
Director John Myers of Cleveland Irish Historian Jenny Scarry of Akron
Director Patrick Williams of Akron Missions and Charities Marie Rizzo of Akron
Catholic Action JoAnn Shirer of Medina