During the summer of 1952, a stalwart band of about a dozen individuals who had arrived in Hamilton shortly after the end of World War II gathered in each other’s homes to discuss how to form an Irish association in Hamilton. Blazing a trail which would be emulated by the Irish Canadian Aid and Cultural Society of Toronto and similar bodies in Windsor, Sudbury, London and Peterborough, the Hamilton group settled on their essential goals. The Club would set itself the task of helping other Irish immigrants integrate into Canadian society, by assisting in finding jobs and by providing a social centre.
Down the years, the Irish Canadian Club of Hamilton became a vital part of the multicultural mosaic in the region. The Ladies Choir has long been in great demand for performances not only during the St. Patrick’s festivities and Christmas season but also at the Kiwanis Music Festival. They were featured also at the 1971 celebrations of the City of Hamilton’s 125th anniversary and two years later at the inaugural concert at Hamilton Place theatre complex.
The Club also boasted its own in–house theatre group which presented a number of plays from the 1960s to the 1980s. The highlight of the Club’s cultural life, perhaps, was the weekly broadcast by Hamilton’s CHCH TV of Tommy Makem and Ryan’s Fancy, produced and taped in the Club’s premises during the 1970’s.
The Irish Canadian Club of Hamilton has never forgotten its original purpose. Although immigration from Ireland has declined, newcomers are still made welcome. But the Club also continues to look to the future, and since 1969, we have awarded annual scholarships—named for Pat Walsh, in recognition of his loyality and dedication—to university and community college students.