At the Sofitel Hotel in North Houston, Dorothy Davitt and
Honorary Consul John Kane planned the beginnings of the
Houston Irish Society. They were its founders. The Irish Society
began as the Irish Heritage Society on October 15, 1999 with 21
people in attendance at Pat Sharkey's law office. Those in
attendance were Mike Daly, Dorothy Davitt, Judge Daniel
Downey, +Mary Lu & +Paul Doyle, Mary Jo Clancy
Faykus, Eamonn Finnerty, +Mary & Jim Keagan, Delia
Fitzpatrick, Michael Fleming, Rev. Charles Greene, D.D.,
Col. Michael Harrington, USMC (Ret.) +Ann Caraway
Ivins, Honorable John Kane, Dr. Joseph McFadden, Glenn
McCarthy, Jr., Leah McCarthy McCurry, Madeline
O'Brien, Jeannie Kearns and our present President, Pat
Sharkey. Shortly thereafter our first official membership list
had 90 members, thanks to Dorothy Davitt's many "lists" from
past Houston Irish groups and events. It only took a couple of
board meetings for our organization to plan for the future.
Patrick Sharkey drew up the Irish Society corporate charter and
also applied for and obtained 501(C.)(3) charitable organization
The Irish Society really began to develop under our first
president, John Reynolds. It was John Reynolds, John Kane, and
Charles Greene that seduced Conlin "Lyn" Brogan into joining
the organization. "Lyn" was inducted and became the first (and
only) Treasurer in 2000. Dr. Joseph "Tip" McFadden became the
second president in 2001. It was under his leadership that the
organization really evolved. It was "Tip" that organized a
meeting of then Father J. Michael Miller, C.S.B., President of the
University of St. Thomas, with "Lyn," Charles Greene, and John
Kane. It was that eventful meeting that led to the establishment
of an Irish Studies Program and a Center for Irish Studies at UST.
"Lyn" was immediately assigned the responsibility of establishing
an Irish Society Gala that would bring in funds to fulfill our
financial obligation of this mission. He set up the first four Irish
Society Galas at the Petroleum Club. Between the efforts of
Dorothy, "Tip," Ann Ivins, and "Lyn," membership crescendoed.
These four essential board members then fortunately enlisted
The Irish Society Newsletter Editor, David O'Keefe, who
became everybody's adjutant and was eventually elected to the
On January 23, 2003, the Center for Irish Studies was officially
inaugurated by Irish Consul General Charles Sheehan, who
came to Houston from Chicago for that purpose. Lori Meghan
Gallagher became its first and only Director.
In June, 2004, Sean Fitzpatrick organized the Irish Society young
adults (21-35 yrs). During the year the young adults enjoy lively
get-togethers sponsored by our organization.
The Sixth Annual Irish Gala was recently held at the Houstonian
Hotel. The Gala, jointly sponsored by the Center for Irish
Studies and the Irish Society, marked the continuation of the
Society's financial commitment to help support the Center for
Irish Studies. The vision of the Irish Society's founders as the
home of Houston, Texas' Irish community and a guardian of Irish
culture is now in the process of expanding. We are grateful for
the continued contributions of the membership and our friends.
Part of our original plan was to act as a financial umbrella of
other worthy Irish, religious, and civic groups. We have
remained a non-political and nonsectarian organization.