shamrocks01Beale Street in Memphis must be the most Fun Place in the whole world.
If you went to a Metallica concert, followed by a fillet steak and sex with George Clooney (insert your own Fantasy Name here) it would still be like tea and stale cake with your Great Aunt compared to a night in Beale Street!
If there’s no Beale Street in Heaven, I ain’t going!
I was recently on a trip along the Mississipi from Memphis to Natchez.
After an absolutely scrumptious meal in BB King’s ‘Itta Bena’ we all ambled along Beale Street, surrounded by music everywhere.
Outside The Rum Boogie Café, which is lined with Stax memorabilia and plays live Stax music, I spotted a group of men in the road wearing waistcoats with SHAMROCKS on the back, and clutching pints of beer. They all waved to us and invited us to have a drink. It was obvious that they were bikers.
Being a curious female journalist, I stopped to ask them who they were and what they were doing there. But the noise and alcohol levels were too high to have a sensible conversation, so I took a few wobbly photos and promised to make contact when I got home to England.
shamrocks02We walked along the road, and there in a side street were their bikes, all neatly lined up in a row.
I took another wobbly photo and couldn’t help wondering how the Shamrocks were going to get their bikes home at the end of the evening!

This is their description from their sites.
‘Originally founded in Vermont as a club for Federal Law Enforcement Officers, the Shamrocks MC is now a motorcycle club with membership containing and open to all male, US law enforcement officers without regard to level of government.
The Shamrocks MC is a nonprofit organization designed to promote brotherhood between all members of our nation’s law enforcement community. The Shamrocks MC is also committed to the service and support of organizations that assist with law enforcement, veteran, and select charity issues, as well as supporting the efforts of other allied clubs. We are bonded by history and united by principles.
We support several different charity causes which include, but are not limited to, Law Enforcement, Veteran’s Affairs, Children, Animals, and Medical Research and Treatment. In addition to self-initiated cause support, the Shamrocks MC is very active in supporting other clubs with their charity efforts.
Originally, the membership of the Shamrocks MC was comprised solely of Federal Law Enforcement Officers. As time went by we felt the need to recognize our professional bond with all levels of government law enforcement. Today the Shamrocks MC welcomes all US Law Enforcement Officers, not just Federal, into its ranks.
No matter what background our members possess one can rest assured that if you see a big white Shamrock on their back, you are looking at one of this country’s finest professionals.
While not a club requirement, most of our members claim and are proud of their Irish heritage.’
The Shamrocks have Chapters nationwide, from Texas to Canada with great names, including;
Mother. North Country. Black Irish. Rebel Irish. Wicked Irish. Fenian. Fighting Irish. Lucky 7. Southern 8. Golden Isles. Dead Rabbits. Lone Star.

shamrocks

They all have different variations of the Shamrock logo.
The waistcoats are called vests. The patches on the top and bottom on the back of the vests are called Rockers. The bottom Rocker represents the State, eg New York or Mississippi, that the Chapter is chartered out of. The Shamrock in the middle is the Club’s symbol.
All the Shamrocks have nicknames, or Road Names as they’re called, like Rocket, Skip, Hillbilly, etc.
New Members may have their Road Names chosen for them, and if anyone misbehaves they can be renamed!
Generally they already had their nicknames from their job.
All the Shamrocks call each other by their Road Names.
The Shamrocks MC is a 100% Law Enforcement only M/C. – Local police, State Troopers, and US Federal Agents. You MUST be an active or retired Cop to join the SRMC.
shamrocks03
Even with a Law Enforcement background, new Members aren’t automatically accepted. The Shamrocks are highly selective. They have to ‘prospect’ around the Club for a while before being Patched in to the Brotherhood.
When I spoke to the Shamrocks in Beale Street, they all claimed Irish heritage. It seemed more important to them than their Law Enforcement past!
About 90%, of the Shamrocks come from Irish heritage. It is not a club requirement though.
The SRMC holds a National Rally (or meeting) once a year. All Chapters attend and Club business is discussed, issues are ironed out, and lots of BEER!
It was being held in Memphis when I met them.
Chapters have meetings once a month that are called “Church”, wherein local Chapter business is discussed. Drinks, food, and good times take place after Church is over.
No women are allowed to be “Patch Holders” (members). But they do attend some events.
The SRMC prides itself in its charity work. Chapters from across the US participate, sponsor, and assist in many charity events. Charity work is an integral part of their Clubs.
Tiocfaidh ar La is written at the bottom of their websites. It’s an Irish Republican saying meaning “Our Day will Come”. This is in reference to the Northern Ireland issue. Most of the Shamrocks have Irish heritage, some members with family in Ireland, and Irish sovereignty is a touchy subject.
shamrocks04I asked if they would welcome any British bikers who were on holiday there.
Their reply was;
The SRMC always looks to make new friends, even Englishmen! HAHAHAAH! So if any folks from across the Pond come over we would hoist a Guinness with them!
The Shamrocks. Motto is;
‘Under English law you are innocent till proven IRISH.’
Tiocfaidh ar la.

(I pointed out to Rocket that nowadays ‘Under English law you are innocent till proven ENGLISH!’)

If you fancy an unforgettable holiday, I strongly recommend hiring a Harley and following the Highway 61 Blues Trail down the Mississippi.
You can pick up a bike in Memphis, plus all the gear, and drop it off in New Orleans.
You’ll have wonderful weather, fantastic food and magnificent music all the way!

Useful Information:

The Shamrocks’ website is www.shamrocksmcvt.com
Many thanks to Rocket, the National Vice President, for answering all my questions!

Bike Hire.
Duncan Williams
Central Reservations Department
EagleRider Inc
11860 S. La Cienega Blvd
Hawthorne, CA 90250.
Office 310.536.6777×138
Fax 310.536.6770
Cell 310.408.3484
www.eaglerider.com

To follow the Blues Trail www.msbluestrail.org
To check out the Blues Trail Markers www.msbluestrail.org/blues_marker_list

Tour operators who feature Memphis, Greenwood, Vicksburg & Natchez:

America As You Like It: www.americaasyoulikeit.com or Tel: 020 8742 8299

North America Travel Service: www.northamericatravelservice.com or Tel: 0113 246 1466

Bon Voyage Travel: www.bon-voyage.co.uk or Tel: 0800 316 0194.

For trips on the river, Quapaw River Company: www.island63.com. Standard group rate fees (6 or more people): $65/person outfitting & guiding + $25/person refreshments & sandbar lunch + transportation.
The official Mississippi website is: www.visitmississippi.org and Memphis is: www.memphistravel.com

Our regional co-op Deep South USA has loads of info on the river and all the places we visited: www.deep-south-usa.com
If folks want to speak to us and request free info packs: 01462-440787

Where to Go Online
www.memphistravel.com
47 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
901-543-5319

Where to Stay
The Peabody Memphis
149 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
901-529-4000

Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis – Beale Street
175 Peabody Place
Memphis, TN 38103
901-260-4000

Where to Eat
Itta Bena
145 Second Avenue (Above BB Kings on the corner of Beale Street and Second Avenue)
Memphis, TN 38103
901-578-3031

Blues City Café
138 Beale Street,
Memphis
www.bluescitycafe.com

What to See
Graceland
3734 Elvis Presley Blvd.
Memphis, TN 38116
901-322-3322

Sun Studio
706 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
901-521-0664

Mud Island River Park
125 N. Front Street
Memphis, TN 38103
901-576-7230

About the author:
Lyn Funnell is a Travel Writer, Journalist & Author.
Her latest book, The Girl who Watched, is an exciting novel that takes place in Cuba and the UK.
It’s available online from Amazon & all good bookstores, or in autographed hard copy from lyn@b-c-ing-u.com

About Lyn

LYN FUNNELL CV (well, sort of!) Lyn had very successful careers as an Air Hostess, Sales Rep, (she was one of only a couple of women. She beat all the men regularly, becoming the Top Rep in the UK, and 2nd in the world.) And then Catering took over. She did everything from the washing-up, to Silver Service Waitress, and Chef. A few times, she had to cook the meal, dash round the other side and Silver Serve it! In between all this, she wrote as often as she could, building up a reputation as a published short story writer, (Horror and a twist in the tale,) and a Poet. She has appeared as a Performing Poet, and a Demo Chef. Then she discovered the world of the Food & Travel Writer. And that’s what she has continued doing to this day. Her main hobbies are Cookery and entering Competitions. She has won many prizes, including holidays and a moped. She enjoys entering Competitions, submitting her original recipes. She was first in many Competitions, including the Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu, Fruits of France, Bernard Matthews Turkey Recipe, and appeared on BBC’s The One Show Spag Bol contest. She was one of three Finalists, coming 2nd, which makes her Britain’s Spag Bol Queen! Now she runs B-C-ing-U! and loves it! After several years of being messed around by Editors, and having loads of contacts, Lyn formed her own online Magazine, vowing to treat her writers fairly, and to do everything possible to further their careers, publicise their books, etc. She now has a band of excellent regular writers, and the Magazine’s going from strength to strength! Lyn’s online published books; Adverse Camber A collection of my published poems. The First Book of Short Stories The Second Book of Short Stories The Third Book of Short Stories. Many of these stories have been previously published. St Anthony of Padua. The Patron St of the Old. A story of one woman’s terrible ordeal in a Home, and her family’s rescue of her. The Girl Who Watched. A Cuban girl is attacked by an English journalist & what follows! Willy the Whizz & the Wormhole. Suitable for Young Adults, aged 15-95! Get Out Of Debt And Stay Out – Forever! Unsympathetic, hard-hitting, realistic solutions to your problems. All these books are published by Andrews UK Ltd www.andrewsuk.com No, I didn’t pay them to Vanity Publish! They’re all available from Amazon, and many other online publishers. LYN FUNNELL.