When the Knights and Ladies of St. Finbarr (Cork) host their first post-summer dance Saturday night, they'll be asking for a $10 donation from attendees. The Boston-based Irish club will then turn around and donate the money their event raises to the fund to keep the of Boston open.
This will not be the first time the Knights and Ladies have come to the aid of the West Roxbury-based Irish Social Club in its time of need.
"Oh, they've been great," said Kathleen Adams, a prominent figure (along with her husband Brendan) in the movement to keep the Club open.
The Knights and Ladies introduced themselves to the Club with a $5,000 donation, Adams said, pledged shortly after . Since, Richard Archer, President of the Knights and Ladies, has served as the treasurer of Save the Irish Social Club of Boston while secretary Jim Calvey has helped lead the effort to provide renovations the Club needed.
The Irish Social Club originally closed in April because its leaders did not believe that with dwindling membership, they could afford to pay for needed renovations to the building. Since, the Club has brought in over 350 new members and seen a spirited campaign to keep its doors open to future generations.
The Knights and Ladies have been central to that campaign.
Adams suggested that since the Knights and Ladies do not have a venue of their own, keeping open similar clubs where they could host their own events benefits them. That, of course, also benefits members of the Irish Social Club.
"That's all the more reason to hold onto our own place!" said Adams.
That sentiment mirrors Archer's own. , "The (Irish) Social Club has always been the premier club in the Boston area and even though there are other smaller Irish clubs, it is important that the Social Club continue to operate and perhaps with a change to the bylaws, the other Irish clubs may be in a position to hold their functions and dances there. This will help both the Social Club with needed funds and also the club that is holding the function. The Social Club is part of our Irish heritage and is needed."
Adams also said, though, that their assistance is also a case of one area club simply helping another. She said she and her husband are searching for a babysitter for Saturday night so they can attend the Knights and Ladies dance.
The Knights and Ladies have dedicated the dance to two late, prominent members, Rita Walsh and Pat Manning. Archer said both would be proud to see their club assisting the Irish Social Club of Boston.
"They loved their club and their Irish heritage and would have been proud to see that their club wanted to help to keep another Irish club active and alive especially for the young Irish and those of us that have a few grey hairs," he said.
The Knights and Ladies are hosting their first dance after the summer break, with proceeds going to the Irish Social Club of Boston, Saturday night at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Arlington (15 Willow Street). The event runs from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. and will feature traditional Irish music by Erin's Melody with Margaret Dalton.
Raffle tickets, to be drawn at the Irish Social Club's , will also be sold at the Knights and Ladies' dance, as will admission tickets for the event.