The Westmeath Ball of 1935 has passed into history, but the memory of it will linger long in the minds of those whose good fortune it was to be present.
Although the night was very inclement– the first blinding snowstorm of the year making travel hazardous–it did not dampen the ardour of hundreds of patrons of the Westmeath Men.
Once inside the great ballroom of the Yorkville, Casino, everyone was carefree and happy. Indeed it was one of the most sociable gatherings that could be found in New York and the consensus of all present was that it was the most brilliant function ever held by the Association. One could not help but feel the thrill of old Ireland in his breast as he entered the spacious hall. Every side he turned was a reminder of the Emerald Isle. The magnificent array of lights, sparkling on the green and gold of the decorative banners, which hung from the boxes, was most attractive and greatly admired.
The ladies too, were resplendent in their gorgeous gowns of modern fashion against a background of the sharp black and white formal attire of the men.
A romantic touch was added to the festivities since a number of newlyweds were present. Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Duffy, who spent their honeymoon in Ireland last Summer; Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Delhanty, and Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Nooney, who were married a few days previous and who deferred sailing to Bermuda on the wedding trip until after the ball, and the floor manager, Patrick Kelly, who was selected to lead the grand march, with his charming fiancee, Miss Josephine Mullane. It is needless to add they were the recipients of hearty felicitations throughout the evening.
The ball committee should feel very proud of their work, which showed such splendid results, under the most trying weather conditions, and it reflects great credit on their hard and consistent work for the past six weeks. On this committee were– Michael Merriman, Fore, Chairman; Christopher J. Casserly, Killucan, Secretary who deserves a special word of praise, he did the lion’s share of the work. Others on the committee were Chris Brennan, Dysart; Joseph Horan, Rahan; John McCormack, Sonna; Dr. Joseph P. Brennan, Ballinagore; Chris Murray, Raharney; Michael McCormack, Sonna; Frank Tighe, Inny Junction; Andrew Coyne, Hightown; John Kelly, Terrycrew; James F. Weston, Streamstown; Chris Duffy, Crookedwood, and Patrick Casserly, Killucan.
The fact that the net proceeds were to be forwarded to his lordship, Most Rev Thomas Mulvany, as the contribution of the Westmeath Men’s Association towards the erection of the new Cathedral acted as a stimulus to greater efforts.
A double orchestra supplied the music for Irish and American dancing. The feature of the evening was the grand march, which was led by Patrick Kelly, Streamstown, and Miss Josephine Mullane, followed by the assistant floor managers, Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Duffy, Patrick Casserly and Andrew Coyne, after whom came the officers of the Association and over two hundred couples.
Amongst those present the following were noted:
[hundreds of names. Insert at later date]
It was a wonderful night and a wonderful affair. Young and old had a thoroughly good time and it was with regret that a halt had to be called in the early hours of the morning.
It was inspiring to view the fine gathering of the young Westmeath folk and to note the decorum and the charm of expression on the faces of everyone present.
It was a really Irish night and one which will go down in the history of Westmeath men as a most enjoyable one. It would be hard to understand why all our Westmeath people in New York and vicinity do not attend this splendid annual reunion when so much pleasure and sociability is enjoyed by all who do attend. The heavy snowfall that continued throughout the day and night had a deterrent effect on the attendance. It prevented a good many out of town people from venturing out. However, what it lacked in numbers was made up in joviality.
The boxes were filled to capacity. Mrs. Keenan, Rosemount, who arrived here last October on a visit, who was the happiest woman at the ball. She was entertained in box “5” by her family, which included her sons, Thomas and Joseph, and their wives, and her daughters, Bridie, and Mrs. Christopher Shaw. Box “23” held a most congenial crowd. The newly weds, Matthew Delhanty and Christopher Nooney, both of Kilbeggan, entertained their friends in royal fashion. They had little respite throughout the evening from a continuous parade of well-wishers, who all but mobbed them.
Patrick Kelly, floor manager, was the cynosure of all eyes as he led the grand march. Was it because of his distinguished appearance, or was it because of his charming partner? Perhaps it was both. Reminded by one of the old-timers the remark that “history repeats itself,” in 1903, nearly 33 years ago, a committee was formed by the Westmeath Men’s Association, to aid and assist the late Rev. John L. Magee, who was then collecting funds for the new Cathedral, I cannot help noting the fact that on that committee were practically the same members who are acting in a similar capacity on this occasion, among whom are– Christopher Murray, John and Michael McCormack, and Frank Tighe.
The committee are very grateful to P. J. Cox, Rathowen, and Michael Jennings, Mullingar, who could not attend, but sent their donations. The same is true of Matthew Lynam, Killucan, now of Bridgeport, Connecticut. This is the spirit that has built the Cathedral!
— Christopher Murray