The main purpose of the Newsletter was to project the aims of the Society and promote participation in Irish community activities. We wanted to use the Newsletter to introduce ourselves to prospective members and to develop a network of members that might foster new cultural activities. It was important in that era to show that the ICS was non-political and inclusive.
We learned from Pat Slater that the Chieftains would be appearing at the Performing Arts Centre on February 25, 1986 with a follow up session at Murphy’s Pub (sadly gone). This provided an opportunity to publicize the Society’s existence to a broad audience and to solicit memberships so we set out to establish the ICS and publish the newsletter in advance of that date. We sought input from various Irish organizations in Calgary and included information publicizing their existence and activities. We encouraged businesses to advertise in the Newsletter which provided some badly needed funds but more importantly showed their support for the Society.
Production of the initial Newsletter was a low-cost effort. The original layout was a scotch-taped arrangement of typed text and photocopied art work. Ann Cowman typed the text and Colynn Kerr produced the artwork for the Irish Cultural Society header and our Celtic logo. Thanks to Hugh Neary we had acquired a business-like downtown postal address at Rocky Mountain Plaza while Tom and Ann Casey volunteered their telephone number for ICS use. John Cleary was able to have the Newsletter printed at his High School print shop. Page collating, envelope stuffing and stamp sticking were done during a work-bee Jim Cox’s house. By the time we got to Volume 1.3 in September we had acquired a grant from Alberta Culture and were having the newsletter printed at a commercial shop. The quality of editions continued to improve as Pat Slater took over the editing role and Colynn Kerr produced the layout.
In recognition of the opportunity the Chieftains concert gave us we used a photograph and write up of the group on our Inaugural Volume 1.1., February 1986. We also began to publish letters we had received from representatives of various governments including Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Minister of Culture Alberta Mary LeMessurier, Mayor Ralph Klein, and the Irish Ambassador to Canada, Sean Gaynor. Examples of information published about various Irish organizations are included in the following pages.
The Newsletter became a key communications medium in the efforts of the Society to be a catalyst in supporting and promoting Irish culture in Calgary.