Friendly Sons,

Blah, blah, blah blah. You’ve heard a million introductory speeches. Almost all the same. As promised at this year’s Friendly Sons Black Tie Dinner, this talk and this year will be different.

Since I retired last year. Yes…..I know I look so young. Kidding. I’m president of the ‘Face Made For Radio Club’…… and also the Friendly Sons. The Sons for a just a year, but this mug I get to keep as long as I walk the planet. Since I retired, I’ve had lotsa time to think long and hard about the group. To wit:

What we eff’ed up.
What we did well.
Some interesting activities to try.
How to make the club better.

We have an aggressive, exceptionally talented and dedicated Board of Directors to make me, and The Sons look good. We will be hosting open Board of Director meetings where you are invited to sit in, take part if you wish and “see the sausage made”. It’s the opportunity to see the process, how we do things……and have some fun at the same time. We hope you can get there because it is a good time. We’ll let you know the dates. It may inspire you to work on the Board of Directors…..hope you do.

Anyway, we will be doing some new, exciting things this year AND keep in mind that as a 501c3 charity group we can do an awful lot of good for the local Irish community, beyond the good works we’ve been able to do in the past.


Put the FU back in FUN.
Put the FUN in FUNdraising.

Be well. Be happy. See you soon.


Mark Wheelan

How the Irish Saved Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving was actually celebrated on Feb 21, 1621 when a band of starving pilgrims at Plymouth Rock were saved at the last minute by the arrival of a ship from Dublin bearing food from Ireland.

The Boston Post, the largest circulation newspaper in the 1920s and 1930s, discovered the earlier date for the Thanksgiving ritual. It showed that the traditional date of the autumn of 1621 was actually incorrect.

According to the “Observant Citizen,” a columnist for the Boston Post, the Pilgrims in the winter of their first year were starving and faced the end of the their project to colonize the new world when “a ship arrived from overseas bearing the much needed food.”

Because of anti-Irish prejudice at the time, the “Observant Citizen” neglected to name it as an Irish ship, but it was actually The Lyon and “its provenance and that of the food was Dublin Ireland.”

It turns out, from records at the Massachusetts Historical Society, that the wife of one of the prominent Plymouth Rock brethren was the daughter of a Dublin merchant and that it was he who chartered the vessel, loaded it with food and dispatched it to Plymouth.

The “Observant Citizen,” whoever he was, never admitted the Irish connection, even though a number of Irish organizations challenged him on the issue.


Want More? Give More. A Call to Membership

Want more? Simple: give more.

It has been wisely opined that we get out of life what we put into it. It applies to our health, relationships, interests, careers and communities. It applies to our membership in the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.

Since 1953, scores of men from all walks of life have donated their time, talent and treasure and served on our Board of Directors. Safe to say, that we would not be here today as Sons without their sacrifice.

Each year we interview and select from among the pool of applicants those motivated and talented Sons who wish to do more and offer them a place on the Board of Directors. It is a chance to give back to an organization that has given us all some good times and some great memories.
The commitment is to attend BOD meetings once per month, help to plan and execute our events, and have as much fun as possible doing so. There is no litmus test of profession, politics, military service, etcetera. We are just looking for the motivated few who want to move this organization forward in this new century to support Irish San Diego.
Is that you? If so, we’d like to hear from you!

Contact President Emeritus Doc LaMar at: mglamarmd@gmail.com.
(TY to UTEP for the use of their poster.)

Scientists Say Guinness Really Does Taste Better in Ireland

For those who’ve been to St. James Gate, you know what a pint of the plain is like straight from the teat. Per Barry Fitzgerald, “Homeric!” We concur.
For those who’ve not been, its a living thing akin to a creamy loaf of bread sequestered in a glass with all of its unpasteurized aromas and flavors spilling all over your tongue and caressing your palette.

It’s enough to make you misty when you realize the difference between this pint in Ireland and the one at home or anywhere else, but this ‘dirty old town’.
It makes us wonder if we could persuade the President-elect to support an infrastructure project where we run a trans-Atlantic pipeline from Dublin to NYC and from there to every pub in America. Imagine the same delicious pint coast-to-coast just like it is at the Storehouse. “Homeric!” indeed.

If we can put a man on the moon, surely we can put a fresh pint of the plain in every fist across America! It’ll pay for itself in a week with a 5 cent per pint user fee. Well worth it!

“Build it and they will come.” In droves…


Ireland 40 – 29 New Zealand: As It Happened

We interrupt your stumbling around this morning to change the time on every clock in sight for this bit of sporting news. It seems the Cubs’ luck has rubbed off on the Irish. Ireland scored five tries to stun New Zealand, claim a first win against the All Blacks in 111 years of trying and end the world champions’ record run of 18 straight victories.


Irish Comfort Food: Shepherd’s Pie

As colder days approach, here’s an Irish alternative for those who just don’t fancy a quinoa and baby kale salad with a pint of the plain.

Shepherd’s pie, or cottage pie, as it’s known in Britain, is believed to have existed since around 1791, when potatoes became an available, affordable crop to the poor. This dish was a perfect way to stretch leftover roasted meat.


How “Féile Na Marbh” or ‘Feast of the Dead’ Became Halloween

Head over to The Old Sod in North Park and Mick Ward will explain it all to you over a pint…

That which we know as All Hallows Eve actually began as a harvest festival several millennia ago in Ireland. Though the evening’s popular colors are black and orange, they might as well be Forty Shades of Green, for the customs of the celebration are as Irish as the shamrock.


President’s Message: A Cold Pint and Wee Bit O’ the Dew

As the new President of the Friendly Sons, I want thank you all for the privilege of leading such a fine group of Irishman. I also want to welcome you to a new season of Friendly Sons events and to make sure your calendar has all of our key dates.

But before we start marching into our new year, I want to take a second and look back over the past few months. We have had some great times together at the luncheon, dinner, parade and at the Songs of Freedom, which was a musical extravaganza celebrating the Easter Rising. We toasted each other and our forefathers. We thanked the brave leaders of the Easter Rising for their courage. We sang a song or two, and marched in step once or twice.

Now, looking forward, I wanted to provide you with the big dates for next year, so we all have them on our calendar. Please add these events to your calendar now, and make sure your wife or significant other has them on their calendar too, so they don’t start planning ski trips, spa weekends, etc. As soon as the specific locations and times for the other traditional events are nailed down, we will let you know.

Don’t forget you can always check the website (and your email) for the most up to date information, as well as check out pictures from our past events.

The Board of Directors and I are committed to working hard for you again this year to ensure that you always have a great time at these events. If you ever have any questions about an event, feel free to contact me, the event chairman, or any one of the board members.

Looking forward to seeing you out there for a pint and a song for a purpose!

James Ryan
President, The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick San Diego

Friendly Sons, Songs of Freedom, and “The 32”!

The thirty two flags that flew in the courtyard of the Shiley auditorium at USD created a festive and colorful backdrop for the cocktail hour before the “Songs of Freedom” concert Saturday evening to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. People delighted in finding the flag of the county where they, or their ancestors, were born and snapping a photo with It.

The display and the Four Provinces flag in the foyer also conveyed a subtle political message as well, i.e., that the six counties of Northern Ireland are still considered part of the Irish nation and will ever be. We continue to pray and work for their peaceful reunification with the Irish Republic.

The ex-pats put on one helluva show. The Irish Consul, Mr. Philip Grant, spoke briefly about the Rising and pointed out that America was the only country mentioned by name in the Proclamation*. Pearse and his comrades in both pen and in arms were shouting to the world, “We want to be free!”. What better example to cite than America. ‘Land of the free… because of the brave.”

After the concert, two people won two round-trip, first-class tickets on Aer Lingus to Dublin. The Consul pulled a third name to take to dinner when next he next visits San Diego. He remarked about the fantastic Irish spirit in San Diego and the amazing cooperation between the various Irish groups. He mentioned that he uses San Diego’s Irish community as an example to emulate in other places he visits. That’s us boyos!

The after-concert party at Dan Diego’s was packed. The band members were there and the conversation and craic flowed with spirited ease. It would be impossible to count the number of compliments the Friendly Sons received for our outstanding support and attendance at this event. (Take a bow, Mr. O’Connell.)

We hope to see you at the next outing. Till then, may He hold you in the hollow of His hand.

“IRISHMAN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.

Having organized and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organization, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organizations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and, supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.”