Brilliant Function – Westmeath Exiles In The Ballroom

Forty-third Annual Ball In New York
Highly Interesting Particulars and Descriptions
For the forty third consecutive year, the Westmeath Ball has come and gone. Like its predecessors, this year’s affair on Saturday evening, Nov 24th at Yorkville Casino, was the Irish social triumph of the season. No other Irish social gathering in New York approaches Westmeath in style and attendance. It has been truly said that it is the outstanding event among the Irish societies in greater New York.

This tribute is due to the fact that the affair is run in such elaborate and highly creditable manner.

This ball, among our people, have been anxiously awaited and the mere word of its announcement is like music in their ears. It has the effect similar to that of a mother standing on the threshold of her door with outstretched hands bidding her children come to her. Heeding her call they flock in their hundreds from mountains, glens, and valleys to nestle in her arms; bringing with them their friends, regardless of county or province.

Many men of prominence in City and State affairs joined in the festivities, not among them were–Hon. George U. Harvey, President of Borough of Queens; Hon. Thomas Kelly, former Deputy Sheriff; Roderick J. Kennedy, General Chairman, St. Patrick’s Day Parade; Hon. Matthew J. Troy,–Assistant Corporation Counsel, who it is rumoured, will shortly be appointed to a Justiceship in one of the High Courts; Dr. Joseph P. Brennan, and Rev. John K Flanagan, O.C.O, Pastor Carmelite Church at Middletown, NY.

They enjoyed the proceedings immensely, particularly the grand march which began promptly at midnight when John Foley’s (Ballynacargy) famous Irish orchestra blended in musical harmony with that of Professor McGrath’s American band, as they struck up Leo Casey’s, “The Rising of the Moon.” The great crowd, catching the fervour of the stirring air sang out in ringing tone and the singing gathered in volume until at last a thousand voices was heard in:

“Oh, then tell me, Shaun O’Farrell,
Where the gath’rin is to be?
In the auld spot by the river,
Right well known to you and me.”

The march wended its way in endless columns (led by James Duffy, former captain of the Rosemount football team, and his partner was Miss Catherine Weston, charming young daughter of the President of the Association) until they came sixteen abreast, when the eight leading ladies were presented with eight bouquets of chrysanthemums by eight pretty little Westmeath girls, Mary Weston, Theresea McQuade, Mary Donnelly, Margaret Ogul, Sheila Brady, Evelyn White, Anna Casserly, and Dorothy Nugent. The march was directed by John McCormack (Sonna) and Joseph Horan (Rahugh). At its conclusion everyone stood at attention as the —- National Anthem and ——.

President’s Welcome

During a brief moment while the photographers were preparing their apparatus for a group picture, the President of the Association, Mr. James Weston, came to the centre of the stage and said, among other things to those assembled: “We greatly appreciate your presence and we extend our sincere gratitude to you for your valued patronage. The proceeds of this ball, like all others, will go towards replenishing the sick and death funds of the organization. May this affair bring to your hearts an abundance of joy and pleasure and may its memory linger in the minds of everyone present.”

Mr. Weston was heartily applauded for the message of good will.

Dancing then proceeded without interruption and the following were found regaling themselves to their hearts’ content:

[hundreds and hundreds of names to be added at a later date]

The number of names given above are small in comparison to the large number who attended the ball, but those people have cooperated with the committee in not only giving their names, but their town or townland as well. We are sure it will give a good deal of pleasure and consolation to the folks at home to scan the paper and find therein the names of their loved ones in a distant land, sharing the joys and pleasures of their schoolday chums.

The committee in charge of this splendid undertaking, which includes John Donnelly (Ballinafad), Chairman; Christopher Brennan (Castletown), Secretary; Patrick Mackin (Newtown, Castlepollard), Chairman of Boxes; John P. Smith (Raharney), and John McCormack (Sonna), publicity, deserve great credit for the manner in which they conducted the afffair.

They are not unmindful of the wholehearted support and encouragement that has been given to them by the “Westmeath Examiner” heretofore.

Refreshments and sandwiches were copiously distributed by the Ladies’ Committee, who were hosts in themselves and by their kind hospitality and courteous smiles added greatly to the pleasures of the evening.

— Christopher Murray.