Denis Cowhig—Irish History & the Story of St. Patrick

Posted by on Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017 in Blog

Reported by Laraine Lasdon

President Sara called the meeting to order at Noon. Josue Limon led the Pledges and Rich Fikani gave the Invocation. Sam Greer led us in reciting the Four Way Test. Myron Burse was our Greeter and Carl Noble introduced our guests and visitors.

Andy Swanson announced details of the upcoming Membership Soiree on Thursday, September 7th at the Headliners Club. Mary Reynolds let us know of the dates and times for the EarlyAct FirstKnight Tournament of Champions at Hart Elementary, Dawson Elementary and Pecan Springs Elementary schools. Mike O’Krent and Ann Graham announced the need for volunteers for Camp Enterprise, especially members willing to interview the students at their schools.

President Sara announced that local Rotary Clubs, including ours, will have a “Meet the Mayor” event at City Hall on Thursday, September 14th from 11:45-1:00 and she hoped many of us would attend. She also reminded us of our next wine tasting, on Friday, September 15th, hosted by Charles and Betsy Doty.

Ann Graham invited people up to the Thank Goodness Basket and we heard from: Rick Ravel, Ellen Hunt, David Menchaca, Myron Burse, Jeanne Arnold, Peter Pfeiffer and Mary Reynolds.

Past President Barry Curlee introduced our speaker, Denis Cowhig, who was a longtime member of the Sherman Rotary club but now is a member of the NxNE club.

Denis opened with the remark that “we are all from somewhere” and that everyone’s heritage is important. His great, great grandfather was named Denis after the patron saint of France and Paris (Saint Denis). In 1834, his ancestor Robert Martin moved to the USA due to the famine blight – after the Civil War he opened a saloon in San Antonio.

Cowhig means “fair haired warrior”. Because names are important Denis named his children Kathleen and Patrick and their dog, Brigitte.

Maelwyn was the original first name of St. Patrick who was actually born in Wales. He was brought to Ireland by raiders where he discovered his spirituality. He was ordained in France and had a vision he should return to Ireland. He made good use of the three leafed shamrock as the Holy Trinity symbol, and he designed the Celtic cross which combines the sun and the Cross.

Denis then entertained us with photos of several people in Irish history, including a leader named Michael Collins who was ambushed and killed for his belief that peace could be forged with the British. Collins is a distant relative of Denis Cowhig. He also showed photos of “road bowling” and “hurling” – Irish sports.

He ended his talk with “go raibh maith agat” which is an Irish Blessing. His humor and knowledge were greatly appreciated, and he got a great round of applause.

President Sara adjourned the meeting at 1 pm and closed by highlighting Karavel Shoes (Rick Ravel) and Joe Koen & Son Jewelers (Bill Koen), two of our members with advertisements that support Club operations.

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