Chef Peter StewardWe would like to welcome Peter Stewart as our new chef here at the ICC’s Irish House Restaurant and Trinity Pub. Chef Peter is the 3rd generation of restaurant workers in his family. He grew up on Mulberry Street in Springfield then moved to Southwick as a youngster. Peter and his family often visited NYC to sample all different types of food during the seventies and eighties, as the city’s fine restaurants flourished then.

Peter’s career unofficially began at the age of 8 when his mother managed Page One in Westfield and she would occasionally bring him with her to work. He would watch the chefs work in the kitchen, so eventually he was put to work peeling potatoes. That was all it took to foster his love of the kitchen excitement as well as the challenges. Peter has great plans, as he says, “My focus here at the Irish House Restaurant is to evolve the restaurant into an Irish Gastro Pub, like you find in Europe.”

Peter has worked in multiple restaurants for over 40 years, and his main goal is to “seriously up the game here at the ICC.” He has already started adding new, innovative additions to our menu with the focus of evolving into to an “all scratch kitchen.” Peter has known and worked alongside our new General Manager Michael Ratte for decades. Together Michael and Peter with their decades of experience have the vision to make the dining experience at the Irish House Restaurant top notch!

ICC President Sean Cahillane praised the new menu additions. “The Fish Fry Friday special is delicious, outstanding. My go to place on Fridays will now be the Irish House for Peter’s fish and chips.” Board member Will Carey believes Peter is driven, focused on delivering quality and constant food.  

One of Peter’s goals is to feature traditional homemade desserts, like your mom our auntie used to make, all prepared exclusively in house by our new sous-chef, Carina. Look for her upcoming feature! Homemade desserts are a special treat these days, as most restaurants offer premade products.

Our tempting new dessert items:

• “Personal Size” Cheesecake with choice of raspberry or caramel sauce
• Apple Crisp with vanilla bean ice cream, caramel sauce, and whipped cream
• Puff Pastry Éclair filled with vanilla ice cream, smothered in fudge sauce, and topped with a cherry
• Coming soon – Strawberry Angel Food Bundt Cake served “Shortcake Style”

Our Fish Fry Special is available every Friday! Choose lightly breaded or beer battered fish with chips.

The ICC held our 2nd annual Celtic Music Festival on Sunday, May 21, 2023. This free afternoon festival showcased traditional and popular Irish music along with Irish dancing, in our Trinity Pub and on the outdoor patio. Thank you to the over 400 people who visited the festival throughout the day!

Entertainment included a traditional Irish music session featuring the weekly Trinity Pub session players, Boston-based band Boxty, Trinity Pub favorites The Stout Porters, the Black Rose Academy of Irish Dance, and the Cassin Academy of Irish Dance. Caravan Kitchen Food Truck provided delicious sandwiches and paninis.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to all the volunteers who helped set up and run the festival, to our Events Committee, and restaurant staff.

Thanks to our festival sponsor, the Mass Cultural Council, plus our Presenting Business Sponsors, Westfield Bank, Freedom Credit Union, and PeoplesBank.

See more photos in our Facebook gallery >

Celtic Music Festival

Celtic Music Festival

Celtic Music Festival

Celtic Music Festival

Celtic Music Festival

Celtic Music Festival

Celtic Music Festival


Michael RatteWe would like to welcome Michael Ratte as our new General Manager here at the ICC’s Irish House Restaurant and Trinity Pub. Michael comes with over four decades of restaurant experience from the ground up, starting as a busboy at Springfield Country Club and moving up to managing, consulting, designing, and owning restaurants in the area. He brings a wealth of ideas and knowledge to the table here at the ICC and we look forward to working with him as we begin our new direction with construction of the Community Performance Center and new kitchen.

Michael and his staff are preparing an ever-expanding menu, all crafted on site with house-made desserts as well. According to Fred Haska, a new Irish House customer, “This is the best Guinness Beef Stew I have ever had!”

Board member Will Carey says, “The changing of the guard at the Irish House Restaurant has been remarkably smooth. Mike is a professional, pleasant, and engaging with our customers, so please stop by and say hello to him.”

And if you are looking for Michael in October, you will have to do some traveling as he spends the month in upstate NY teaching clients how to fly fish, tie flies and find salmon. He is looking forward to joining us on an Ireland trip to try his luck in Castleconnell on the Shannon River. Fishing is one of Michael’s passions and has been since his grandfather began taking him at the age of five. When you see him at the ICC, ask him to show you a picture or two.

ICC President Sean Cahillane is excited for the future of the Irish House Restaurant. “Mike has really stepped up, taken control and turned around the kitchen remarkably fast. The chefs that Mike has brought in have kicked up the quality and consistency of our food. I extend an offer to all our Patrons and friends to come on in soon and try out our new menu.”


Celtic Music Festival

The Irish Cultural Center of Western New England presents our 2nd annual Celtic Music Festival on Sunday, May 21. Traditional and popular Irish music along with Irish dancing will be presented in our Trinity Pub and on the covered outdoor patio, located at the ICC at 429 Morgan Road in West Springfield, MA.

12–1:15 pm (pub): Trad Irish Session
1:15–2:45 pm (patio): Boxty
2:45–3:45 pm (pub): Cassin Academy of Irish Dance and Black Rose Academy of Irish Dance
4–5:30 pm (patio): The Stout Porters

Free admission. The entertainment takes place in the Trinity Pub and on the covered outdoor patio. Delicious sandwiches and paninis will be available from the Caravan Kitchen Food Truck. The Trinity Pub bar will be open. Guests are welcome to bring chairs or blankets for additional seating on the grass.


Trad Irish Session
The Trinity Pub’s weekly Irish session players, led by Ellen Redman and John Tabb, present an authentic Irish pub experience.

Boxty performs a unique blend of Irish and American music supplemented by dynamic original material that draws from both traditions, mixing Irish roots music with a bluegrass vibe and an authentic folk flavor. The Boston-based band, led by singer Cormac Marnell from Dublin, is renowned for energetic performances that engage the audience in a fun and lively experience. Watch their promo video >

The Stout Porters
Always popular at the Trinity Pub, local group The Stout Porters play the jigs and reels of Irish trad/folk, modern Irish classics, and Americana classics. Led by ICC board member Tom Landers, along with Mike Rosemond, Jerry Murphy, and Jimmy Kenney.

Cassin Academy of Irish Dance
Led by Maura Cassin, TCRG, the Cassin Academy in West Springfield teaches students about Irish dance, music and culture.

Black Rose Academy of Irish Dance
Led by Bridget Barcomb Dupuis, TCRG, the Black Rose Academy is an all-inclusive Irish dance school community serving Greater Springfield.

Mass Cultural Council


The Irish Cultural Center is linking up with Irish historian, Sean Murphy, to introduce our community to live, weekly online Irish history courses. Sean presents two monthly topics, divided into four-week modules. Courses are presented on Zoom. Each student will receive an electronic copy of each presentation.

The first topic is a general history of Ireland from ancient times to the present day. The course module for May 2023 is Six Counties/Northern Ireland 1998–2023. Takes place on Thursdays, May 4, 11, 18 and 25 from 7:30–9:00 pm. Download course flyer.

The second topic is a general history of each of the thirty two counties in Ireland. Featured in May 2023 is County Laois. Takes place on Thursdays, May 4, 11, 18 and 25 from 6:00–7:30 pm. Download course flyer.

To Enroll
The enrollment fee is $90 for each four-week course. Please contact Sean directly for information or to enroll in his course(s) – send an email to or call 508-790-0438.

About Sean Murphy
Sean Murphy was born in Dublin and came to live on Cape Cod in 2005. He has a passion for his homeland and loves to share his knowledge and interest about his heritage through classes, workshops and conversation. He is a teacher of Irish history, music, and dance. 

We were honored to have Congressman Richard E. Neal visit the Irish Cultural Center of Western New England on Monday, April 10 to release the following statement regarding the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement:

“Twenty-five years ago, the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom signed the Good Friday Agreement, marking the end of the longest period of conflict in Irish history. It happened because everyone involved acted together in good faith, with both parties giving up something to come to this agreement. The Republic of Ireland relinquished Articles 2 and 3 of its Constitution, and the United Kingdom gave up the Border. The world was a witness to these proceedings. 

“I have no doubt that my ancestors, who instilled a deep and emotional connection to this country, would be proud of the Ireland we have today. A strong, prosperous, and confident Ireland has firmly found its place on the world stage and used its voice, as always, to stand up for the less fortunate.

“One of my first speeches on the floor of the House of Representatives condemned the use of rubber bullets in the North of Ireland. My own heritage compelled me to do what I could, but many of the people I represent in Springfield, Holyoke, and Pittsfield would tell the same story. It was that story, bolstered by Americans all over the country, who kept the fortune of Ireland close to their heart. This, above all else, encouraged and invigorated me to continue our fight for peace.

“Today, on this distinguished occasion, we must remember that the Good Friday Agreement can and should be used as a template for peace around the world. Two generations have now grown up not knowing the violence of the Troubles or living with a hard border. As a guarantor of the agreement, the US has the indispensable role of continuing to uphold the principles embodied in the peace accord, ensuring no return to a hard border. The gains of this agreement have brought peace to the island of Ireland for twenty-five years, and we must continue our work to protect and strengthen these gains for future generations to enjoy.”

See news coverage of the event > 

Official Statement > 

Neal Statement on Good Friday Agreement

After six years of opening and running the Irish House Restaurant and Trinity Pub, General Manager Sheri Hanifan Boardway is leaving the position.

Sheri began her work at the Irish Cultural Center when the new facility opened. As such, she has headed up the food, beverage, and entertainment end of things since March 2017.

To say Sheri will be missed is quite an understatement.

“Sheri has had a long, successful, memorable run, since the day we opened,” noted ICC President Sean Cahillane.

“Sheri put down the foundation for the Irish House Restaurant and Trinity Pub to open and operate in all these years. We all have many fond memories that go right back to Sheri. She did a wonderful job through the pandemic – not an easy feat,” said Sean. “We wish her all the best and hope Sheri is no stranger to the ICC in the future.”

As general manager, Sheri was charged with hiring and maintaining staff, scheduling, payroll, ordering food and supplies, and in general running a tight ship and keeping customers happy. She also brought in live music and set up many a fine private party, including reunions, showers and even a few weddings. Her dedication to the ICC was absolute, and much appreciated.

Administrative Director Ellen Gallivan said “It has been a great pleasure working with her all these years and, along with so many others, I will miss her wonderful ‘pairing dinners’. They were the best!”

Board member, Restaurant Committee member and longtime friend of Sheri, Mick Corduff, said her presence will be missed.

“Sheri was exactly the right person to start us off on the right foot, and to carry us through the first several years of growing, learning and putting the ICC on the map,” Mick said. “We wish her all the best and we know we’ll be seeing her a lot in the future.”

Board member and Secretary Jeanne Ahern agreed, saying “Sheri will be missed. She always had a welcome greeting for everyone, and she was so dedicated and hard working. Best wishes to Sheri!”

Sheri’s last day will be Saturday, April 8. Please stop by and wish her all the best, as we do.

The Irish Cultural Center of Western New England will hold its 22nd annual Lá na Gaeilge (Irish Language Day) on Saturday, May 6, 2023. The event will be held in person once again in Berchmans Hall at Elms College in Chicopee, MA. It is an opportunity for those with an interest in this ancient language, which is now enjoying a resurgence, to deepen their knowledge and appreciation of this vital component of Irish culture.

Lá na Gaeilge begins with registration at 8:30 am and concludes at about 5:00 pm. The cost is $50 per person / $45 for ICC Patrons / $15 for students aged 21 and under. The price includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

Registrations are due by May 1. To register:
• Download and mail in a registration form with payment >
• Register and pay online (service fee will apply) >

Lá na Gaeilge is a unique opportunity to encourage and take part in Irish language learning at all levels, from very beginner to advanced. As well as instructional classes, Lá na Gaeilge includes a choice of cultural workshop, and cómhrá (conversation and dialogue at the learner’s appropriate level).  There will also be a lecture based on the language and folklore of County Louth. This will be given by Emer Maguire, Elms FLTA, with contributions from Ryan Hogan, Gaeláras Mhic Ardghail. The event concludes with a céilí and a seisiún, with an opportunity for participants to display their musical and dancing talents, and all are encouraged to bring their instruments and voices to participate.

Learn more and see the full schedule >

On March 22, students in our first ever Tin Whistle for Complete Beginners Workshop presented a short seisiún featuring the tunes they had been working on for six weeks. They learned polkas, barn dances and mazurkas and the craic was mighty!

The free six-week series of classes was aimed at kids aged 8–12, with no experience needed. Instructor Ellen Redman is both a classically trained flutist and accomplished traditional Irish flutist and whistle player. She co-hosts the weekly seisiún at the ICC.

Ellen remarked about the workshop, “I was delighted at the response and enrollment, which speaks to the value the families give to Irish culture. I was also blown away by the students’ enthusiasm and interest in the whistle. We had so much fun!”

The goal of the program was to introduce kids to the tin whistle, an easy and fun way to get started playing the polkas, jigs, reels and songs that are such an important part of Irish culture. This is hopefully the first of many workshops that will be offered to music enthusiasts of all ages.

The program was supported in part by a grant from the West Springfield Arts Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency. We are grateful for their support!

Tin Whistle Seisiun

Visit our YouTube channel to see the students perform their versions of “Hot Cross Buns” and “I’ll Tell Me Ma.”

Irish Deputy Prime Minister (Tánaiste) Micheál Martin took time out on his visit to Western Massachusetts to honor the last living woman from the Great Blasket Island in County Kerry, Ireland, in a celebration of the centennial of her life.

Surrounded by her loving and large family, Mairead Kearney Shea, now 100, was the beneficiary of many exemplary words and a plaque with photographs of her today, when she came to the United States at age 26, and as a young girl on the remote island that was evacuated in 1953. The framed piece also includes a stone from the Great Blasket Island.

Speaking at the Irish Cultural Center of Western New England, Martin said, “It is a great privilege and honor for me to be here with Mairead. This is a lovely, lovely moment that symbolizes the extraordinary connection between this part of the world and a wonderful part of Ireland, which is the Dingle Peninsula and the Blasket Island itself.”

Martin addressed the crowd at first speaking in Irish, giving credit to the Dingle Peninsula in West Kerry as the place where he learned the language fluently as a young man. The tiny island nearly three miles off that coastline was home to a close-knit community– many who wrote books about their lives and culture – until isolation and a dwindling population triggered its exodus.

Martin was the guest of Congressman Richard E. Neal of Springfield, who has been instrumental in both the Good Friday agreement and ongoing political negotiations between the United States and Ireland, most recently with regards to Northern Ireland and Brexit. The pair, along with U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Claire D. Cronin, marched in the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade on March 19. Kearney Shea’s presentation followed the parade at the ICC in West Springfield.

Neal said Springfield was influenced positively by the islanders who came over in the mid 20th century.

“Millions of Irish nationals immigrated across the Atlantic to take part in the American Dream and make their mark on our nation’s history,” Neal said. “As one of the two remaining Great Blasket Islanders, Mairead Kearney Shea represents thousands of native Irish speakers who settled in the Greater Springfield community to make a better life for themselves and their families. Their stories speak not only to a great cultural achievement by the people of the Great Blasket Islands, but also to the profound connection between our region and the island of Ireland.

“You can’t imagine America without the Irish, and you can’t imagine Springfield without the Blasket Islanders.”

For her part, Kearney Shea was pleased for the recognition of her long life and of the importance of the island where she grew up.

“We had a great day,” she said. “Just to have an honor like that is really something. At my age, it’s not the end, and I know that now.”

Born on December 28, 1922, Kearney Shea was the youngest of seven children of Peats Tom and Nellie Shea Kearney. She came to Springfield in the 1940s and worked as a seamstress at the former Berkshire Maid, owned by the Joseph family.

She married Springfield firefighter Patrick Shea in 1960, and together they had four children – Patrick, John, Thomas, and Theresa. The senior Patrick Shea died in 2007. She is now the grandmother of seven.

Theresa Shea called the event “an incredible, incredible day. She was so beyond excited. The recognition of her lineage means so much to her. The skills the island gave her – the tenacity, the fortitude and resilience – gave her the courage to come over here and start a new life. My mother is the history of the island.”

ICC President Sean F. Cahillane is the nephew of Kearney Shea. Together with her elder sister, Eileen Kearney Cahillane and many other islanders, Mairead forged a new life in Springfield and kept close ties with hundreds who came over from the Dingle Peninsula.

“Having grown up in the culture of the Blasket Island here in Springfield, surrounded by so many islanders, I feel I have a unique view of the world. I’ve had a rare and cherished Gaelic experience,” Cahillane said.

Among many relatives at the ceremony, including children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins, was retired Springfield Police Officer Michael Carney.

Carney noted that his father, the late Michael Carney, grew up with his first cousin Mairead on the Blasket Island and remained close with her after they both emigrated to Springfield. Young Michael knows her as a loving elder with a wry sense of humor.

“It was an honor to be there for her centennial celebration,” he said. “To see her recognized reminds me of her and her friendship with my Dad, and her true spirit to the Irish community. Mairead has always been bubbly and very funny, always cracking her Irish wit.”

The Great Blasket Island is one of six islands in the archipelago that is the westernmost outpost in Ireland. It is now reachable by boat, and is a favorite spot for locals as well as tourists, campers, and hikers.

See more photos of the celebration in our Facebook gallery >

Honoring Mairead Kearney Shea

Honoring Mairead Kearney Shea

Congressman Richard E. Neal (left) and Tánaiste Micheál Martin (right) with Mairead Kearney Shea and members of her family.

Watch the WWLP 22News coverage of the event >