An accomplished, well travelled writer and reviewer, Michele resides in Brisbane. Witty and highly articulate, her rivetting reviews show life through the eyes of a highly Gifted Adult viewing a world where she has an IQ in the top 1% of that world.
Published May 3rd 2012
'At the well below the valley O Green grows the lily O.'
They pulled down Cloudland. They pulled down Festival Hall, but Tara House, where the Irish Club is based was saved thanks to heritage listing. It's sitting on prime CBD real estate at 175 Elizabeth Street. It's the lovely old building that is flying the Irish tri colour. I've been a member for twenty years, joining not long after Irish women were finally allowed to become National members of an Association founded in 1898. It flies in the face of Celtic history where one of the fiercest sea captains and pirates ever was a queen and where the Irish princesses trained with and rode into battle with their brothers
The Irish Club is formally known as the Queensland Irish Association. (QIA) It is an umbrella for different groups and events. I was a QIA Dancer as in the picture. The current Pipe Major is an old friend of mine, Bruce Grice. I've known him since he was a teenager. Hardworking, committed and a bagpipe lover, he has earned his rise through the ranks.
As an Irish dancer, many times on formal occasions, I have performed four or six hand reels to the music of the pipe band in our expensive, colourful costumes. Mine was designed for me using my coat of arms. I performed and competed for years and have a trophy cupboard to show for it. I worked hard for QIA. The Irish Festival runs for a week each year.
QIA leads the St Patrick's Day parade and I have been on the float dressed as a dancer, wearing a green cloak and dressed as a bride to promote the club as a wedding venue. On St Patrick's Day itself we performed multiple displays. Riverdance took one of our dancers.
There's groups playing bowls, bridge and golf. There are 41 gaming machines and three nights for you to wear your poker face. There is a library of Irish books. There is an exquisite President's lounge where you are not allowed to go. There is a formal board room for important meetings of important people.
The annual Rose of Tralee Ball is a divine, though not cheap event. A girl of Irish heritage is chosen to represent Queensland and then Australia. Girls travel from all over the world to represent their countries as Irish girls and a global winner is chosen. The current International Rose of Tralee is from Queensland and a lovely, intelligent girl she is.
There are several venues where you can eat and drink and they have now opened a new coffee shop: Caffe Libri. On Thursday nights you can bring along your instruments and join in for an Irish music session. The lovliest room you will get to see is the Tara Ballroom where my spirit dances on.
But for all that I found here I might as well be where the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.'