STAFFORD, NJ - There's a new club in town!  A group of men of Irish heritage have formed a local Loyal Order of the Friendly Sons of the Shilleleigh Club.  

Local men of Irish heritage have gathered together over the past 6 months 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 28th, 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 Shilleleigh.  

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The Shilelleigh organization was originally founded in 1964 primarilay 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 Shilelleigh chapter was formed in West Orange and they are chartered as the Essex County Loyal Order of the Friendly Sons of the Shilleleigh.  There were many Irish immigrants in the 1950's and 1960's 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 Shilelleigh 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 Shileleigh."  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.  They are beginning to gather funds to eventually have their own building on their own land.    

The official St. Patrick's Day Parade that the Ocean County Shilelleigh will march in will be the Seaside Heights Parade this March.  The members are ordering their uniforms and excited to be walking together in their first St. Patrick's Day parade.  

In addition, the Old Bridge parent chapter donated $1,000 to this new Ocean County Chapter.  This was intended to help the club start their fundraising efforts.  "With the support of the Old Bridge Chapter, we are well on our way to becoming a successful club," said President Chris Ebert.  "I would like to express congratulations to the first ever officers of the Ocean County Friendly Sons of The Shillelagh.  We know that they will set a standard for all that come after.."

President Ebert also extended thanks and congratulations to the charter members of this new organization.   The group is alway open to receiving new members.  

The charter officers of the Ocean County Loyal Order of the Friendly Sons of the Shilleleigh are: 

President: Chris Ebert
Vice President: Kevin Lyons
Treasurer: Ken Hansen
Recording Secretary: Skip Carey
Corresponding Secretary: Jim McCabe

The public is invited to the club's Kickoff Party on January 28, 2017.    Fundraising Committee Chairman Bruce Halliday reported that the event will be held at the Manahawkin Elks.  Tickets are $50 each. The party will include food, beverages, Irish entertainment, pipe music, possibly step dancers, a 50 / 50 raffle, gift auction and a lot of good Irish fun.  More information will follow in the next few weeks.