WEST CALDWELL, NJ - West Caldwell’s Kevin Kinney, President of the Order of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh in West Orange, today announced that Saturday’s Beach Party Fundraiser "Restore Our Shore" was a financial and social success. As of publication, we have just been updated that the amount raised is now over $12,000!
The event was held to provide relief and support to those affected by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, which destroyed homes, businesses and some of New Jersey’s most famous landmarks.
Reflecting on the evening’s events, Kinney effused, “Wow! The Shillelagh Club was the place to be! What an unbelievable turnout for a great cause. We raised well over $12,000 for Sandy Relief. God bless everyone who helped out with this spectacular event! Makes me proud to be a Shillelagh.”
A festive palm tree greeted guests as they came in the door. Credit: Carol Sharkey Corcoran
The benefit was held at the group’s pub location at 648 Prospect Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052. It began at 7pm, but due to the extremely high turnout, organizers had to turn people away already by 8pm. The $20 cover charge included food and live music. Beer and Wine were also included up until 9pm. People were lined up outside into the parking lot, hoping to be able to support the cause, and enjoy the fun.
West Caldwell’s Janet O'Keeffe-Burke and her husband Karl (who hails from Cahir in County Tipperary, Ireland) were both part of the Party Planning Committee. O'Keeffe-Burke enthused, “I couldn't believe the line at the door! It was amazing! The place was packed, and people were all there to support a great cause. We had great music and the place rocked till closing! They exceeded their goal for the night! Amazing night!”
Upstairs pub room at the Shillelagh Club. Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
“We were very sorry we had to turn people away Saturday night, just couldn’t fit them all in,” explained Kinney. “Still, people donated at the door, even if they couldn’t come inside, and we are so grateful for every bit of support. It was an unbelievable turnout for a great cause.”
Kevin Kinney of West Caldwell enjoying the relaxing party. Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
The entertainment for the evening was emceed by Weird NJ publishers Mark Sceurman and Mark Moran. Their Facebook page today posted: “We’d like to thank the hundreds of folks who came out this past Saturday night to the Beach Party Fundraiser at the Shillelagh Club in West Orange! The event was a smashing success and the club raised lots of money for charities helping those affected Hurricane Sandy.”
Weird NJ Publishers Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman emceed the fundraiser. Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
Mark Moran today, himself a Shillelagh Member, commented, “Big thanks to everybody who came out to support the "Restore Our Shore" Beach Party Fundraiser! We had a great time and raised a lot of money to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy. We had a capacity crowd, so I apologize to anyone who got turned away at the door, we could only fit so many folks into the building, and we sure did pack them in.”
Downstairs, the pub room was standing room only. Everywhere beach decorations transported guests out of the cold. Credit: Carol Sharkey Corcoran
Carol Sharkey Corcoran, of Roseland, was at the party, along with her husband Michael. She commented, “It was a tremendous night at the club, it was so mobbed! What a great night!”
Tommy Callahan of Roseland, Mike Corcoran of Roseland and Mike Gallo of West Orange having fun. Credit: Janet O'Keeffe-Burke
Every last bit of proceeds, including the tips for the hardworking bartenders who also donated their time, will be donated equally among the following three NJ Shore area charities:
Local restaurants and breweries donated all of the food and beer for the event.
Bartenders donated all of their time and tips during the evening. Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
Billy Kenney, formerly of Fairfield, and now residing down the shore in Beachwood expressed, “So much has to be done and people haven't seen much money yet. It's very frustrating. If this brings some funds in quick to get things moving then God Bless them for it.”
Carol Sharkey Corcoran of Roseland, Maureen O’Hara of West Orange. Credit: Carol Sharkey Corcoran
The Restore the Shore Committee members came from all over Essex County: Livingston, Montclair, Roseland, Verona, West Caldwell, and West Orange,
Restore the Shore Committee Members. From left to right: Mike McCormick; Jim Winters; Scott Harrington; Bob Clarke, Kevin Kinnney; Larry and Karen Lonergan; Karl Burke; Laura Harrington; Bob Howley; Lori Masuro; Greg Dorn; Cathy Grant; Meg Gabel; Barbara Hughes Credit: Janet O'Keeffe-Burke
Hailing out of Hoboken, Will O’Connor’s Live Acoustic Show songs range from Van Morrison to the Barenaked Ladies, Pink Floyd to Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones to the Talking Heads. The band is also well known in the Irish community for their Traditional Celtic ballads.
The O'Connor ensemble is comprised of:
- Will O'Connor, Vocals, Guitar
- Jenny Lyden, Vocals, Djembe, Congas
- Jeff Sassaman, Bass
Will O’Connor’s Live Acoustic Show Credit: Janet O'Keeffe-Burke
Volunteering their time, the Will O'Connor group began the night downstairs, and then continued playing for the rest of the evening upstairs. The upstairs tap room was decked out in a summer theme atmosphere complete with umbrella tables and beach decor.
Earlier, O’Connor commented, "What an incredible event! We're just busting our vests to have had the opportunity to be a part of this, we're just so proud. Many thanks to everyone involved to help raise money to rebuild the Jersey Shore! God bless our Garden State!”
Upstairs, the party included food, door prizes, and more live music. Credit: Janet O'Keeffe-Burke
Kinney at one point stood before the crowd during the evening and commented, “Just a reminder: we are a Public Bar, you are all welcome here every night of the week, and stop by on Friday nights for some great fun.”
Every other Friday night, the club provides Traditional Irish Music. These nights alternate with their very popular Trivia Night. Both are free for the public to attend and participate in.
O’Connor commented, “the Friday Irish traditional sessions are organized by Pete Ford, a member of the club and a teacher at Seton Hall Prep. They're astounding musicians. It's worth checking out.”
During the party there were chance drawings as well - a 50/50, a raffle and a silent auction. Credit: Janet O'Keeffe-Burke
Following up after O’Connor’s band, the charismatic Eamonn Ryan, from Verona, gave his evening hours to entertain the crowd with his vocals, guitar and harmonica. Ryan is well known in the local Irish community, and is an accomplished composer whose songs have been featured on Irish and American radio.
Eamonn Ryan of Verona entertained the guests. Credit: AnnMarie Carracino-Ryan
AnnMarie Carracino-Ryan attended the party with her husband Ryan. She commented, “They had to turn people away at the door! What a wonderful event and what a great turnout!”
Guests packed into the downstairs pub room. Credit: Carol Sharkey Corcoran
Playing until closing, into the early morning hours, The Poor Man’s Opera is a local West Orange band that regularly play at establishments throughout New Jersey. They are made up of the following members, who all played for hours, for free:
- Mark Moran, Guitar, Vocals
- Rick Wagner, Bass, Vocals
- Chris Breetveld, Keys, Vocals
- Glenn Johnson, Drums
- Keif Matera, Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
The Poor Man’s Opera rocked the club. Credit: Carol Sharkey Corcoran
At times, they were joined by guest musicians from the bands Dog House and Clancy’s Ghost, who were also volunteering their time.
Tim Bannon of West Orange and Greg Dorn of Roseland having a blast. Credit: Janet O'Keeffe-Burke
Later, Kinney explained that the membership of the Order of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh is open to any male who is one-eighth Irish, “That means all you need to have is one great grandparent!” encouraged Kinney.
Throughout the evening, guests viewed a video presentation put together by West Caldwell’s Janet O'Keeffe-Burke. The video contained a photo montage of pictures of friends and family enjoying their time at the Jersey Shore. Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
Roseland's John Foley, who attended with his wife, Kate, commented, "Kate and I had as much fun as we would have if we were down the shore. It was a great night with some great friends for a great cause."
"Wow, what an amazing night! Such a great turnout!” commented Karen Lonergan of Verona, part of the Planning Committee. “We are so grateful to all who attended the event, those who donated food, liquor, gifts, and helped through the night and early morning! We could not have asked for, nor anticipated, such a crowd!”
Karen Lonergan of Verona - Party Planner Extraordinaire - and one of the driving forces behind the success of the night. Credit: Janet O'Keeffe-Burke
“The entertainment was outstanding!” continued Lonergan. “Such a great cause close to all of our hearts, so many people there, all happy that we can help support those in Jersey in need. "Down by the Boardwalk" and "Jersey Girl" were voted the best songs of the night! I hope people go out and support The Poor Man’s Opera, Will O'Connor Live Acoustic Show, and Eamon Ryan Band at future events!"
West Caldwell’s Ellen Payne and Anita Cipoletti enjoying the Beach Party. Credit: Janet O'Keeffe-Burke
Kinney expressed that donations are still being accepted. Checks should be made payable to:
Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh Good and Welfare
648 Prospect Ave, West Orange, NJ 07052
Checks can be mailed or dropped off to the above address during their evening pub hours.
“For anyone who couldn't make it, we are still accepting donations. Also we still have our ‘Restore Our Shore’ full sleeve shirts for sale at the bar; stop in and pick one up. 100% of the price goes to charity, $20 a shirt, very attractive,” commented the Club’s President.
Linda Gowen of West Orange and Kathleen Fagan of Montclair model the shirts which are still available at the club. Credit: Janet O'Keeffe-Burke
West Caldwell’s AnnaMarie Fusaro commented, “It was a great event, we had a lot of fun! Based on the big turnout I am sure they raised a substantial amount of money for a very good cause. Congratulations to the organizers for a success!”
Karl Burke and wife Janet O'Keeffe-Burke enjoyed the evening’s fun. Credit: Janet O'Keeffe-Burke
Verona’s Scott and Laura Harrington were enjoying the evening. Scott expressed his appreciation to those who attended, "Wow unbelievable night! Thank you, thank you, thank you."
Moran concluded, “Thanks to the Shillelaghs and all the sponsors for throwing such a generous event, and to all the people who donated their musical talents to make the party fun and entertaining: Will O'Connor, Eamonn Ryan Band, Christopher Bolger and the fellas in Doghouse, and of course, my cohorts in The Poor Man's Opera. Sláinte to all!"
West Caldwell’s Ellen and Mitch Payne stand with Weird NJ’s Mark Moran. Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
“What a night!” cheered Kinney. “Thank you to all the musicians, food vendors, gift sponsors and of course organizers; a huge success. We might have to have more beach parties at the club in the winter. Thanks to all for a great night!”
The many wonderful sponsors. Credit: Janet O'Keeffe-Burke
For further information:
The Order of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh
648 Prospect Avenue
West Orange, NJ 07052
Facebook: The Shillelagh Club / Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh-Essex County