STAFFORD, NJ — One of the newest organizations in Ocean County, founded here in Stafford Township in 2016 is having a Kickoff Party to celebrate the new year of fraternal activities. All are invited to come and join the Loyal Order of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh of Ocean County at the Kickoff Party.  

The event will be held this Saturday, January 25 from 3-7 p.m. at the Manahawkin Elks Lodge.  

Entertainment will be provided by Tom Brett and the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums.

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The cost is $40.00 per person and includes a corned beef dinner, domestic beer, wine, soda and Guinness. You can purchase tickets from one of the Shillelagh brothers or just pay at the door.  

More about the Ocean County Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh.  

Local men of Irish heritage have gathered together in early 2016 to discover the plausibility of forming a club here in Southern Ocean County.  There seemed to be strong interest by all involved and the club petitioned the parent organization in Old Bridge to receive them as a local chapter. .

On Monday, November 28, 2016,  these local men of Irish heritage were presented with their official charter from JIm Hartwyck, President of the Old Bridge chapter of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh.  

The Shillelagh organization was originally founded in 1964 primarily as an avenue for Irishmen and relatives to participate in marching in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Newark.

The second reason they organized was to form a fellowship of fun and support for one another, especially for the many immigrants from Ireland during this time period.   Eventually, the Old Bridge original chapter purchased land and built a great club that has huge impact to this day in Central Jersey.  

The second Shillelagh chapter was formed in West Orange and they are chartered as the Essex County Loyal Order of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh.  

There were many Irish immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s that formed this solid club in North Jersey.  These men took to marching primarily in the West Orange St. Patrick's Day Parade.  They also marched in the Newark parade.  The bar at the Shillelagh Club in West Orange is open 7 days a week, and the public is always welcome to this day.  

They offer happy hour, live entertainment, drink specials and great food.  The club is located at: 648 Prospect Ave in West Orange.   

The third chapter was formed in Belmar and became known as the Jersey Shore Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh in 1991.  The  migration of Northern New Jersey residents to the Jersey Shore took place and this boosted the desire to have a club in Belmar.   A group of Irishmen from North Jersey, led by Founding President George McCormack, and other men from Monmouth County joined together and petitioned the Old Bridge chapter for a Belmar charter.

Now the fourth chapter, just a bit south here in Manahawkin has been organized.  The group agreed that the best name would be the "Ocean County Loyal Order of the Friendly Sons of the Shilelagh."  This was an exciting night for the group as they received their charter.  The men shared a meal and a drink or two and had a good time.  The men have a location in town and in coming months will open the new club in the Acme Shopping Center in Manahawkin. 

The group would love to have more members as part of this new movement.