Meet the Emerald Shillelagh Chowder & Marching Society
The "Shillelaghs" began in 1964 flying their own aircrafts from Dulles, filled with members, to exotic locations. They were the first "Air Travel Club" in the U.S. The idea was to provide a unique travel experience by creating a club that could travel together with a guide who knew the area of adventure inside and out, making the experience truly unique. The word "shillelagh" is Irish for "walking stick", a wonderful connotation relating to the true traveling mindset.
In 1986, with the advent of airline deregulation and the drastic reduction in commercial airfares, it became economically prudent to dispose of our aircraft.
Today this membership club operates using commercial travel on planes, trains, ships and motor coaches.
Potential members are invited to take any of the group trips before paying the minimal $35 ($50 or families) for an annual membership.
Formed in the 1960's, the Emerald Shillelagh Chowder & Marching Society has always been about fun, friendship and travel. The club originated after the purchase of several planes by a group of lawyers from northern Virginia. The idea of creating a travel club where each member owned and maintained their own airplane (not unlike country club members who own and maintain their own golf courses) came to life and members signed up.
Captain Robert Hurt who served as Director of Operations, overseeing a crew of co-pilot, flight engineer and two stewardesses, all FAA approved, flew the 87-passenger plane for the club.
Initially, most of the planned trips were for weekends giving hardworking people a chance to go away frequently without losing time from work. From Dulles, the group travelled to the Bahamas, Mexico, Canada, South America and the Virgin Islands.
The club continues to travel worldwide and membership is open to all.