Dunedin’s New World Celts embrace traditions and community | North County

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DUNEDIN – The New World Celts of Dunedin continue to find new ways to help the community and get a few laughs out of it – even when they encounter stinky situations.

They recently participated with the city of Dunedin in public service announcements, such as “Don’t Be a Party Pooper”.

In the announcement, members of the chapter, dressed in full Scottish regalia, remind parents to take their children to the toilets frequently at the Dunedin Kiwanis Sprayground to prevent them from going crazy for the party.

There was also a recent ad called “Scoop the Poop”, for people who bring their dogs to Highlander Park.

According to reports, the New World Celts were founded on New Year’s Eve in 2000 in a house. Past President Mike Dunlap and four others brainstormed how to bring together everyone with a Celtic heritage and an interest in the culture.

Twenty-two years later, the organization has eight chapters in the United States, most of them in Florida. There are 153 active members in the Dunedin Chapter.

“We actually have members who come from out of the country, and they come back all the time,” said chapter president Jannette Pomeroy.

A member of the Puerto Rico club is active in the organization.

“He’s got more pigtails than me,” chapter member Matt Hartigan said during a recent interview with fellow New World Celts members.

The New World Celts are “like a family supporting the Dunedin community,” like the Dunedin High School group, Pomeroy said.

“We raise funds to support children who are into the performing arts. Pipers, dancers,” she said.

A new activity for the chapter is a bagpipe loaner program. The Celts have refurbished a few bagpipe sets that have been donated. The bagpipes are in the hands of two students under a two-year contract that can be renewed if the chapter has no other candidates.

Scholarship stipends have increased from $100 to $150 to $250. Sometimes the chapter distributes bursaries of $500, according to need.

There were times when they could only award one or two scholarships, Pomeroy said. She wrote eight grants at the organization’s July meeting.

“And that’s just a stunning aspect,” she said, adding that it gives the chapter a lot of satisfaction.

“Equipment is expensive. Just to see the relief on their faces and to know that they have help from this organization and others is really great to see,” Pomeroy said.

Matt Hartigan, an active member of the chapter, said Celts whiskey tasting events have also grown.

“We currently have the largest tasting at Dunedin Golf Club, 140 people. Selling out. We expect the October one to sell out as well,” Hartigan said.

Due to the popularity of whiskey tasting, the Chapter has added tasting events.

“We have raised a considerable amount of money through these,” Haritgan said.

One of the largest groups in the Dunedin Chapter is the Barbarians at the Gate, who support the community at events by providing volunteers who work at the ‘gates’. They attract a lot of attention at events such as the Highland Games and the Dunedin Celtic Festivals; there are a lot of volunteers for the festivals as three teams and 10 gates are involved.

The Barbarians have decided to do a mock kidnapping of the leader of the day, Terry Elridge, at this year’s Highland Games on April 2 and take him to each of the 47 clans, who all bring a glass of whisky.

“He has to do penance,” Pomeroy said.

Just having the group name “Barbarians” draws attention to the activities of the New World Celts.

“People ask, ‘Who are you? What do you do?’ It’s another way to spread the word for NWC and the good causes it does,” Hartigan said.

The name Barbarians at the Gate was given to them many years ago by a resident of Dunedin who wanted to come to the park and walk her dog on the day of the Highland Games. According to the story, she didn’t think she would have to pay a fee to walk her dog in the park, despite the organized games.

She lodged a complaint with the mayor at the time, who appealed to two of the founding members.

“And of course they dressed like they always do in kilts because there are so many reasons to wear kilts,” Hartigan said. “They thought they were going to be congratulated for something or whatever, and the mayor said, ‘We had a complaint. “”

“And they read the letter and in the letter the woman said, ‘Your barbarians at the gate wouldn’t let me in.’ And the two looked at each other and said, “We have our names,” Hartigan said.

The New World Celts 22nd Anniversary Banquet and Founder’s Celebration will be held on Saturday, August 6, 6-10 p.m., at Dunedin Golf Club. For more Chapter and Anniversary information, visit https://www.facebook.com/NewWorldCeltsDunedin/ or https://dunedinnwc.org/.

City Commissioners also proclaimed August 6 as New World Celts Day in honor of the 20th anniversary of the New World Celts in Dunedin, noting that the organization has supported local schools and participated in numerous parades, civic activities and festivals.

“I am so proud of what you do and all that you give to the community,” Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski told chapter members at the July 12 commission meeting.

The officers of the club are Pomeroy, president; Jay Archer, Vice President; Kevin Mitchell, Secretary; Kristina Lockette, Treasurer; and Matthew Mitchell, Sergeant-at-Arms.

“We encourage everyone to join. It doesn’t matter where you’re from. How old you are. We try to recruit younger members,” Pomeroy said. “If you enjoy volunteering, this is a great organization to join.”

And he’s come a long way over the years.

“I don’t believe our founding fathers 22 years ago, when sitting around a table, would ever have imagined that NWC would be where it is today. Not to mention having eight other chapters supporting the cause of what they wanted to do in the beginning,” Pomeroy said.

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