Archiver > IRISH-IN-CHICAGO > 2008-01 > 1201012524

From: patricia meyers <>
Subject: Re: [IRISH-IN-CHICAGO] That Corrigan Man---our lunch at Irish Bistro
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 06:35:24 -0800 (PST)

Thanks, Nan, for filling in for the rest of us who couldn't make it on Sunday. Interested in hearing comments from others...


----- Original Message ----
From: Nan Brennan <>
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 8:24:50 AM
Subject: [IRISH-IN-CHICAGO] That Corrigan Man---our lunch at Irish Bistro

Well on the coldest weekend of the year 17 of our members ‘bundled up
and blew in’ to the Irish Bistro for lunch.
From the wide Chicago area, Lorell and Gary Abrell, Donna, Elaine
Beaudoin, Nan Brennan, Jack Clerkin, Brian Donovan, Bill “Green
River” King, Judy Mason, Maureen Neidle, Kathleen Richmond, Ruth
Rooney, Ellen McQuillan Zagozdon,. Trekking by train and bus from
Milwaukee, because she just loves Chicago, was native Iowan, Mary Kay
Kuhfiting, and Annette Oehler and her “genealogist widower” husband
Mike O’Donnell drove down from Michigan. Mike was probably happy
for the freezing cold weather, because Annette didn’t entreat him to
stop at any cemeteries on the way down.. Ruth Rooney had quite a
haul, too—by train from Woodstock. And of course, “That Corrigan
Man”, the subject and object of our hunt! We probably spent a good
hour mixing and mingling. Good craic! including plenty of “What
Parish Are You From”! That was a lot of fun. We were all “old
friends” before we took a bite. (of food she means!) It was a great
bunch at a great brunch!

I’ll be interested in hearing your “reviews” of the restaurant; I
thought it was a suitable choice.
Mrs. Murphy’s Irish Bistro is a handsome and comfortable place. We
had a small private room on the second floor, and our own waiter,
Jeff, who was very affable and attentive. The brunch menu had a nice
range to select from. My entree was quite good: home made corned
beef hash and poached eggs on English muffin with a side of fresh
fruit. The prices were very reasonable. Jaime, the manager, and
Jeff both said how excited the staff was in anticipation of our
arrival, and how pleased they were that “this Irish group” chose
them. I thought they accommodated us with a warm hospitality. I’ll
definitely go there again.

The best report of our luncheon on Sunday with John Corrigan will be
the comments that come from all of you that attended.
I hope you each join in the discussion and contribute your ideas and
comments, and also fill in my omissions and correct any errors on my
and most importantly, tell us what was most interesting to you.

John says that it all started at the Corrigan family Chicago Irish
Like many of us, John grew up in an “ Attendance at Wakes Required”
Chicago Irish Family.
He had persistent memories of these funerals and the storytellers and
their characters. John begins the chronicling of his pursuit of
Chicago Irish history as a search for more interesting characters!
Two newspaper stories, one about Father Dorney of St Gabriel’s bold
and energetic involvement in the life of the Chicago’s stockyard
community, and the other about the controversial Father Jeremiah
Crowley and his battles with Bishop Muldoon that caused such a
volatile and public crisis in the Chicago Catholic Church, were so
compelling that John was “hooked on history”. He read all the
Chicago Irish authors and much more. He completed a Masters Degree
in History at DePaul University, taught Chicago Irish history at St
Xavier’s College, wrote a column for the Irish American, and became
actively involved in several Chicago Irish organizations including
the Chicago Celtic Council, the Midwest chapter of the American
Committee for Irish Studies, the Chicago Irish Folklife Society. It
was with this last group that he was editor of their newsletter,
SCEAL. I’ve read a few copies of this publication and they are a
treasure. And of course the focus is on interesting Irish characters!
People well known and some not of great celebrity, but all
contributors to and builders of this city, it’s churches, schools,
unions, buildings, hospitals, public projects, government and
politics, parades, organizations, clubs, societies and their purposes
and events. I hope John will put these newsletters up on his website
so many more can enjoy them and learn from them. During his talk on
Sunday he spoke of AOH, COF and many more organizations and their
activities through the years. At the turn of the century there were
at least 148 Irish groups and organizations in Chicago.

Early on John recognized that the remnants of records of many groups
and organizations and events were sparse to non-existent and that the
information of a complete and accurate history of the Irish in
Chicago was lacking. He also in reading different papers reporting
of the same event found vastly different accounts of the same
events. He has been reading and indexing Chicago newspapers for
almost 30 years. And he continues. Papers he has read and indexed
include the Irish Weekly, the Citizen, the Chicago Citizen, the
Interocean, the Chicago Chronicle, the New World, the South Side
Sun. He is currently also indexing Chicago Election Registers.
Several Chicago writers have utilized his research in the writing of
their books. John has compiled over 20,000 records. All of this
because he believes “ every Irish American Family has played some
part in the community and its growth”, and that the story of the
Irish in Chicago should be told.

Now what will he do with them? ! His website is under development
and so are his future plans for writing and for lecturing. His
knowledge and body of research is remarkable. I’m grateful we had
this opportunity to meet and learn from John Corrigan. He’s a
treasure! Thank you John!
And thank all of you for making it possible with your interest and
your attendance.

Now let’s hear from the rest of you……


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