WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Essex Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh is planning its 50th Annual Dinner Dance for Saturday, May 5, at Mayfair Farms in West Orange, beginning at 6 p.m. 

This Golden Anniversary Dance is being held in honor of Essex Shillelagh Club Founder Harry Knox and the Knox Family, formerly of West Orange. Also being honored at the 50th Anniversary Gala are West Caldwell resident Karl Burke and Michael Tevlin of Livingston, who have been named the 2018 Shillelagh Men of the Year.

Harry Knox graduated from Seton Hall Preparatory School and Valparaiso University prior to serving his country as a Marine in World War II and the Korean War. In 1957, he married the love of his life, Patricia Mooney, and they were blessed with six children: Jim, Denis, Mary Ellen, Patti, Kathleen and Tommy.

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The family originally settled in Old Bridge, where Harry became an active member of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh and served as the club's president. In 1966, the Knox family moved to West Orange, and Harry and some friends found the unique location of 648 Prospect Avenue to start an Essex County Chapter of the Shillelagh Club. Fifty years later, the dream of these founding fathers is still alive and thriving at the same club on Prospect Avenue.

During Harry's many years in West Orange, he coached PAL football, was a member of Rock Spring Country Club and was an active parishioner at St Joseph’s Church, where all the Knox children attended grammar school. Harry also had the honor of being named Grand Marshal for the 1986 West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Burke has been a longtime member of the Shillelagh’s and has held many positions within the foundation, including president in 2007. He has also been a trustee under several administrations. In 2007, he founded the Capital Improvements Committee and has been behind the major improvements at the club since then.

Tevlin has held various officer positions for 15 years and has been on the Executive Board for 26 years. He was also the youngest and the first three-term president of the club from 1992-1994. Tevlin started and chaired many activities at the club, including the O’Hara-Shillelagh Grand Marshall Party, the AOH/Shillelagh Irish Sports Expo and the Shillelagh Club Golf Outing, where he has raised more than $50,000 in scholarship money.

The Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh is known as one of the premier Irish organizations in the state. Its large clubhouse in West Orange, which has a bar that is open to the public, is known for its hospitality, welcoming atmosphere and its diversity of entertainment.

The Shillelagh Club is a Non-Profit 501 c3 Charitable Organization and is host to many Irish groups in the area including the Ancient Order of Hibernians; the Women of Irish Heritage and The Essex County Police and Fire Emerald Society. Additionally, the Friendly Sons support various charitable organizations, including St. Baldrick's Foundation to find a cure for childhood cancer, Avon Walk for Life and Wounded Warrior events.

The club also sponsors scholarships to several very deserving young adults to assist with their high school and college educations. Tickets to the event are available for $100 and include cocktail hour, a five-and-a-half-hour open bar, dinner, dancing to The Eamonn Ryan Band and The Maclean Ave Band, with performances by The Shillelagh Pipe Band and the DeNogla School of Irish Dance in Verona.

There will also be commemorative Ad Journal highlighting sponsors of the event. It is not too late to support the organization or the honorees with an ad or by purchasing tickets and joining them for an evening of exceptional Irish entertainment.

For tickets or to place an ad in the journal, contact shillelaghevents@gmail.com, call Rick Dyer at 973-615-2147 or visit shillelaghclub.com/dance/.