The purpose of our club is to bring about the association of individuals of Irish descent or relationship, in whole or in part, for the purpose of conducting educational and benevolent activities of all kinds, including the conducting of meetings, conducting forums and research into Irish culture, providing funds for the study of Irish music, dance, and humanities, presentation of Irish culture to community at large and the pursuit of cultural advancement of the Irish through cooperative means with local communities and institutional organizations.
It is only fitting that the Irish Heritage Society of Milford had its beginning in the month of March. In 2006, Martin Hardiman and Christopher McEnerney, who had worked together on the Milford St. Patrick’s Day Parade, frequently discussed the possibility of forming an Irish Club in Milford. They placed a small article in the local newspaper announced that a meeting would be held, inviting anyone interested, and over 80 people attended in response!
From this first meeting, volunteers came forward and formed committees. The By-Laws committee held meetings and presented the by-laws to members at the May 2006 meeting. The Irish Heritage Society of Milford (IHSM) was now an official non-profit club located in Milford, with co-founders Marty and Chris serving as the first co-Presidents, along with an elected Executive Board.
The IHSM wasted no time in becoming active in Milford and the surrounding area. In August 2006, the group had a booth at the Milford Oyster Festival, and in September 2006, at the young age of 6 months, members had organized their 1st Annual Irish Festival. Within the following year, the tradition of the Lyle James Memorial Golf Tourament was begun, providing funding for three annual scholarships, as well as other local charities.
Proudly displaying its impressive array of all of Ireland’s county flags, the ihsm has marched in Milford’s Memorial Day and Veterans Day parades. In addition, IHSM has participated in St. Patrick’s Day parades from New Haven to Mystic to Yonkers, NY, and at Irish nights for the NY Mets, Brooklyn Cyclones, and the Bridgeport Bluefish.
Community involvement remains at the heart of the IHSM, and members generously contribute to annual collection drives for the Milford Food Bank, and for school supplies. In addition, each year the group works with Milford’s Department of Human Services and adopts a local family as their Christmas Family, providing needed items and gifts.
Due to the dedication and hard work of IHSM’s members and its elected leaders, the attainment of the goal of a permanent home has come to fruition. The Irish Heritage Society will celebrate its 10th anniversary in March of 2016, with great pride in the beautiful new clubhouse and a membership roster of over 1,000 members, a 500% growth since the end of 2006.
The Milford Irish Historical Society is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland – Le tacaíocht ón an Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha is Trádla na hÉireann.
Membership meetings are held on the last Tuesday of each month, preceded by a social hour; and our monthly Happy Hours are well attended. Annual events have included a Ladies’ Brunch, Irish Man and Woman of the Year, Tara Theater production, Family Picnic, Irish Festival, Christmas Party, various children’s activities, and Irish cultural programs.