The Order of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh–Essex Division, has been a pillar of the West Orange community for over 50 years. We are an Irish-American cultural and social organization who work to preserve our Irish traditions and heritage and to share them with the community at large.
Our Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization, continually working to help our community. Throughout the year, we host and/or support multiple charitable endeavors, cultural events, and community outreach functions. Detailed information about each event can be found in the “Events” section above. Below is a brief description of some of our hallmark annual undertakings:
- Irish Cocktail Party – For members of our local Irish heritage organizations
- West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade – For as long as we have been in West Orange, the Friendly Sons have been ardent supporters of the West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the parade committee, who put on one of the best St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the state
- Annual Essex Shillelagh Dinner Dance – To honor brother members and friends of the Shillelagh Club for their outstanding service
- Scholarships – In coordination with the Bannon Scholarship Foundation, provides five scholarships totaling $5,500 to support local high school and college/post college students
- Support the Troops Care Package Drive – Drive to collect and purchase materials to fill care packages for US servicemen and women serving our country throughout the world
- Irish Sports Expo – A celebration of Irish sport and culture welcoming in everyone from the local community to experience hurling, rugby, and Gaelic football, as well as Irish music and dance
- Back to School Yard Party – Aims to supply a fully-stocked backpack to students in need from Thomas A. Edison Middle School
- Brendan Tevlin Lacrosse Festival – Raises funds for charitable endeavors and promotes “Good Vibes & Easy Living”
- St. Baldrick’s Foundation – Fundraising event in support of St. Baldrick’s Foundation for childhood cancer research
- Luck O’ the Pup – Pet adoption event and fundraiser hosted in support of several local animal rescue shelters
- Food Drive for West Orange – In coordination with the West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, the Women of Irish Heritage, and the Ancient Order of Hibernians Div. 9, collect and donate food to local soup kitchen
- Francis Schott Blood Drive – One of New Jersey’s largest annual blood drives, complete with a full Irish breakfast for all who donate
- Holiday Toy Drive – Collect and donate toys for children of all ages, which are distributed through the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots program
- Coat Drive – In coordination with the West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, the Women of Irish Heritage, and the Ancient Order of Hibernians, collect and donate coats, hats, sweaters, and other cold weather clothing to local families in need
- Irish New Year – New Year’s celebration on Irish Time with Dublin Midnight (7:00pm) ball drop and toast, complete with live music
While the Shillelagh Membership may host and spearhead these events, we do not do it alone. We are often assisted by several other charity-minded Irish organizations like the Women of Irish Heritage, the West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the Emerald Society, to name a few. Together we all strive to be leaders in our community and provide a welcoming environment for all.
For individuals that may be interested, the Essex Shillelagh Pipes & Drums practice every Thursday at 7:30pm in our hall. Beginners and new members are always welcome.
Information about becoming a member of The Order of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh can be found here.
All of our major events are open to the public. We hope to see you at our next event!