STAFFORD - This past Saturday September 9, the newly formed Ocean County Chapter of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh based in Stafford hosted the Ocean County Irish Festival.  The festival was held this year at the Manahawkin Lake Park.  People boasted throughout the day that "the weather was perfect."  The skies were clear with temperatures around 70 degrees. 







The crowd was large, estimated by festival officials to be approximately 7,000 people. 

Sign Up for E-News

"Saturday was a great day for the Irish," said Chris Ebert, President.  "Thanks to everyone for helping to make the Ocean County Irish Festival a huge success. To our staff, sponsors, vendors, entertainers, and of course the thousands of people that attended the event, thank you." 

Families and groups of friends came and set up their own sections with tables and chairs to enjoy the day's events







The Shillelaghs honored "Big Joe Henry" from NJ 101.5 as their first "Irishman of the Year."  Big Joe was broadcasting his weekend radio program live at the park most of the day.








The leaders shared that a huge aspect of this years event was free admission to all. This was the first time the festival has offered free admission. 

50/50 raffles were held every two hours and the Mega 50-50 winners were raffled off at 7 p.m. 

The Ocean County Irish Festival was a spectacular family event with live music, pipe bands, Irish step dancers, great food trucks, vendors and a number of charity organizations throughout the park.  

There was plenty of domestic and Irish beer flowing to keep up the cheer.  There was a fine assortment of wines offered by the Shillelaghs.  








The performers at the festival included:

Ocean County Emerald Society Pipes and Drums
The Captain and O'Neill
The Eammon Ryan Band
The Sons of Wexford 
Bloody Callan 
Devrin Academy of Irish Dance
Starlight Performing Arts Academy













The Starlight Performing Arts Academy of Manahawkin shared their talents throughout the day. They opened the festival with the Stafford Police Department Color Guard presenting and led the crowd in singing the National Anthem.  Starlight also sang the Irish National Anthem. 

Here is brief clip of a portion of the opening ceremonies.


Captain and O'Neill clip


Big Joe Henry, honored as Irishman of the Year at our Irish festival (view interview the Chris Ebert and Kevin Lyons)


About the Shillelagh's 

The Ocean County Shillelagh Club is a new organization for men of Irish descent in the county.  The Shillelagh first formed in Old Bridge in the 1950's.  The group expanded to another club, the Essex County Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh located in West Orange and the Jersey Shore Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh in Belmar.

The Order of The Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh in Ocean County is a fraternal organization of men of Irish descent, created to promote Irish Heritage.  The leadership is planning to have their own permanent home in the future.  

If interested in becoming a member, please feel free to visit their facebook page at and leave a message on the site.  







"We would like to take a moment to thank some of our amazing sponsors! Without them, our festival would not be possible," said Skip Carey.  "Here is the list of our sponsors for the 2017 Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh Irish Festival."

Presenting Sponsor

Ritchie & Page Distributing Co.

Grand Sponsor

Terrace Tavern & Delaware Avenue Oyster House

Platinum Sponsors

Andrien Law Firm, LLC
Beach Haven Moose Lodge #1575
Greenwood Tree Service & Homestead Fence
Jackson Township PBA # 168
Kapler's Pharmacy & Medicines to Go
Long Beach Township PBA #373
Newark Police Superior Officers Association
New Jersey State PBA
New Jersey State PBA, Ocean County Conference
Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey
State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey
Teamsters Joint Council # 73
The Sheridan Group of BHHS Zack Shore Realtors
TLC Signs
Uncle Louie G's Italian Ices & Ice Cream
724 Gaming, LLC

Gold Sponsors

Anderson Insurance Agency, Inc. 
Gateway Restaurant, Bar & Liquor Store
Haven Beach Motel
Killeen’s Irish Shop, LLC
Lacey Township PBA Local 238
Meyers Liquor Outlet
Patriot Financial
Philly Pretzel Factory - Manahawkin
TAPinto Stafford and LBI
The Mainland Kitchen & Pub
Ship Bottom Brewery
Surf City Hotel

Silver Sponsors

Barnegat Funeral Home
Bay Head – Mantoloking PBA #347
Doyle’s Pour House
Florio Family
Haymarket Hobbies & Toys
Joey’s Pizza
Just Packaging, Inc.
Kiwanis Club of LBI
Manahawkin Elks Lodge 2340
Mary Allen Realty
McEnerney, Brady & Company, Division of O’Connor Davies, LLC
New Jersey State PBA Hockey Team
New Jersey State PBA Local 600
One Of A Kind Lawn Maintenance, LLC
Saker ShopRites, Inc.
Speakeasy Pizza
Sub Busters – Barnegat
Support Sales, Inc.
VFW Post #3729

The Order of The Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh, Ocean County is a fraternal organization of men of Irish descent, created to promote Irish Heritage.  The Order of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh Ocean County officers are:

President: Chris Ebert
Vice President: Kevin Lyons
Treasurer: Kenny Hansen
Recording Secretary: Skip Carey