Okanagan Irish Society

The Okanagan Irish Society is a registered non-profit Society and our constitution and by-laws are governed by the section B of the Society’s Act of British Columbia. Our mandate is to promote the Irish culture within the Canadian mosaic, look after our own in a non-political and non-sectarian manner.   We currently have over 120 members and we arrange a number of social functions annually for our members and their friends – social dinner/pub night/sing-along gatherings, Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day dinners, bowling afternoons followed by dinner in the evenings and weekend camping outings.  irish-knot-gflag

For the past thirty years we have had a benevolent fund which assists those of our members who are ill or in need.  At one point we had Okanagan Irish Society dancers – this is now a private venture. However the Okanagan Irish Society contributes annual bursaries to the Okanagan Society of  Irish Dancers – Parents’ Association  (OSID-PA).

In addition a number of our members are musicians and singers.  They formed a group called “Ceol na hEireann” of The Okanagan Irish Society.  They entertain at many of our functions, entertain at a number of senior facilities, put on a fundraising concert for St. Vincent de Paul in the fall each year and put on a theatre production in the spring to aid a Prayer House located in Kelowna.  Any time they are asked, they entertain unless previously committed.

Anyone interested in more information can contact Vincent Sherry  at vandjsherry@gmail.com.

2022 News

What a year it has been for the OIS and everybody, eh? We started off having regular monthly zoom meetings and ended up having in person meeting at a Starbucks. Covid rules and restrictions dictated a lot of what we were able to do for most of the time since last AGM and to a lesser extent the restrictions and our own personal comfort level with Covid are still dictating a lot of what we can continue to do. We had three members elected to the OIS executive and two members at large at the last AGM. Since then, we have lost our secretary, Laurie, and one member at large, Catherine. Then we were down to just 3 members, Randi, Sean, and me. Since then, Jackie Reynolds has stepped forward and offered her support in the role of secretary, thanks Jackie. However, we continue to be in dire need of new people on the executive!

So, we tried to organize a couple of events but either ran out of time or were knocked back by the Covid restrictions. It was a real pity that the GAA games weekend didn’t come off as we had hoped. That would have been a big boost for our society and the community of Kelowna. We did manage to get some social events: the main one was having the Irish Consul General, Frank Flood, and his wife Orla here for a few days is July. We were also represented at the Multiculturalism Day in West Kelowna. We have started to have regular coffee morning again, thanks to Randi for arranging them. We also had a BBQ at the Clubhouse day-care in September. It was a lovely afternoon with lots of food and refreshments but not too many people attended. However, those that did have a great time, it is a wonderful setting. Thanks to the Noga/Reagan/Murray families and the Clubhouse day-care for hosting. They have invited us back and we have another event planned for Sunday October 24th. A chili and stew event. Hope to see you all there, BYOB.

Six of us attended a wonderful presentation in Osoyoos by Professor Andrea Walsh out of the University of Victoria. on an Irish teacher, his name was Anthony Walsh. He was well respected by the Osoyoos Indian band and encouraged the children to paint and even entered their pictures in competitions in England. This was in the time of the Residential Schools and teachers were not supposed to be encouraging native art. If you ever get the chance to check out the Cultural centre in Osoyoos I would encourage you to do so. He left the school there and went to Montreal where he worked with the homeless people there. Over there he was known as Tony Walsh. He seems to have been a very quiet man that worked to improve the quality of life for those he encountered.

Looking ahead we are hoping to have a Christmas social get-together and would love to have some pub nights. We are open to any and all suggestions. I will be attending the Kalvern AGM at the end of October.

In fairness we are getting a bit tired and would really like to have some new blood and ideas on the executive. Having Frank Flood here and hearing that we are only one of two Irish Societies in BC was rejuvenating. Frank also stated that his office is there to assist us which is encouraging.

Thanks to your OIS executive members for putting in a lot of effort to keep this society going.

Ceol na hEireann

Ceol-na-heireann is made up of members of the Okanagan Irish Society who enjoy playing and singing traditional as well as modern Irish songs and instrumentals. As part of the Okanagan Irish Society, we are dedicated to ensuring that the tradition of Irish music and song remains a living one and that it continues to be enjoyed by all ages.

We are fortunate to have five young people within our ranks, which is truly brilliant. To have young people wanting to play music and sing with us is what we are all about. We feel we are living our mandate with this addition to our group, besides which, they add greatly to the spirit of the Okanagan Irish Society.

There is a song for every county and town in Ireland. It will take a lifetime to know all of them, but the pleasure is in the seeking, not to mention the sharing with others the enjoyment of Irish music, wherever the spirit of the Irish is present.

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