We are excited to report that we are making significant progress in the redesign and refurbishment of the Irish Cultural Center’s new facility at 429 Morgan Road in West Springfield. The former Elks Lodge property has been leased to us by the City of West Springfield for 20 years. The 10,000 square foot building and 9.8 acres of land will allow the ICC to expand our program offerings for our members and for the overall community. We are on track to move into the administrative offices by the beginning of March.

The refurbishment of the building and grounds is taking place in two phases. Phase One includes the main level, including meeting area, entry lobby and offices, the Traditional Irish Pub, outdoor deck, parking lot, athletic field, and nature trail. Completed work includes upgrades to the heating and AC systems, plumbing, electrical wiring, carpentry, and painting. The building project is coming together quite nicely, including fresh paint, flooring and furnishings now being completed.

Phase Two will follow later, and will include the upstairs Performance Center and Lecture Hall, and the Cultural Center Museum and Library with genealogy research resources center.

The ICC will soon be launching a capital campaign to raise funds for the capital improvements required for Phase One and Phase Two; the funds will be used to refurbish and furnish the facility. The Irish Cultural Center is moving forward, expanding our event offerings, travel trips to Ireland, community outreach and member benefits, thus fulfilling our promise of keeping the Irish arts alive.

Our 2016 Membership Campaign is now in full swing! Please download and return our renewal form. Or, you can easily join online using PayPal. I encourage you to help the ICC grow its membership; seek out a friend or family member and ask them to join.

We value our members and thank you for your support; we want you to be part of this future process with us. Please visit our website, subscribe to our emails, and join our Facebook page, for updates and photos posted throughout this exciting transition.

On behalf of the ICC Board of Directors,
Sean F. Cahillane
Irish Cultural Center of Western New England

Irish Cultural Center building

Design renderings for the new building, sunset, and the board of directors.

House of HamillThe Irish Cultural Center invites you to an afternoon of Irish fiddle and folk music with the group House of Hamill, comprised of Brian Buchanan (of Enter the Haggis), and Rose Baldino (of Burning Bridget Cleary). This duo proved extremely popular in their last appearance for the ICC. Their intimate, relaxed performance will include trad Irish sets and songs, and original compositions.

House of Hamill will perform on Saturday, February 20 at 3:00 pm at the Collegian Court Restaurant, 89 Park Street in Chicopee, MA.

Tickets are limited for this intimate event. Advance purchase by February 18 is recommended. Cost is $15 for ICC members, and $18 for non-members. Tickets are available online or by calling the ICC at 413-265-2537.

You may purchase food and drinks at the Collegian Court during the show. Parking is available in the Collegian Court lot, on street, and at the Center Street Chicopee Savings Bank, which is a short walk across the street to the restaurant. Please note the direction of one-way streets when planning your visit.

About House of Hamill

In 2014, Brian joined Rose onstage at the Folk Alliance conference in Kansas City. The two performed with virtually no rehearsal for over an hour, and their connection was powerful and immediate. A few months later Brian moved from Canada to Philadelphia, and as a tribute to the first tune Rose ever taught to Brian, House of Hamill was born.

Brian and Rose are both accomplished traditional fiddle players and classical violinists, and have over 25 years of writing and performance experience between them. Together, they write unusual new fiddle tunes while also breathing new life into traditional and contemporary songs. Both are confident and unique lead vocalists, and the blend of their two voices in harmony is hypnotic and irresistible.

Whether House of Hamill is covering one of their favorite songs in a new way or stomping through a set of original jigs and reels, their chemistry onstage is always engaging and often hilarious. You’ll leave with tired feet, a huge smile, and a new appreciation for the versatility of folk instruments in a modern context.

All sales are final. Refunds are given ONLY in the event of cancellation by performers.

The Elders

Buy tickets for The Elders
Back by popular demand! The Irish Cultural Center invites you to an evening with The Elders, one of the most critically acclaimed American Celtic folk rock groups touring today, as they return to western MA.

WHEN: Saturday, April 9, 2016
WHERE: Portuguese American Club, 149 Exchange Street, Chicopee, MA. Get directions.
TIME: The Elders take the stage at 8:00 pm. Doors open at 7:00 pm.
TICKETS: Advance tickets $25 / ICC members advance tickets $22
All tickets $30 at the door. General admission, table seating.

Tickets are available online, or by calling the ICC at 413-265-2537. Don’t miss this opportunity to see The Elders in a rare return to the Pioneer Valley – get your tickets today. A cash bar will be open, and there’s plenty of parking at the Club.

They have performed across the United States, Ireland, and Europe, drawing faithful crowds and earning new fans wherever they go. They first played for the ICC last fall to a full house, creating new fans from a very enthusiastic crowd. We heard several comments from people that it was the best show they had ever seen. *Note: phone orders will end on April 7, and online ordering will close at 9:00 am on April 9.*

Watch videos, listen to tracks and learn more about The Elders.  See what the critics say.

About The Elders
Since forming in 1998 in Kansas City, The Elders have set the music scene on its ear, thanks to a skillful blend of American roots rock and amped-up Celtic folk; a cross-pollination of elements that is high-octane and progressive, yet rooted in tradition.

Employing a variety of instruments including guitars, drums, banjo, accordion, mandolin, piano and fiddle, these six artists collectively create music that transcends the stereotypical notion of Celtic music. Powerful four part harmonies, blazing instrumentals and song writing that is unaffected by fads, trends and the giant maw of mind-numbing commercialism.

The Elders are fronted by vocalist and percussionist Ian Byrne, a native of Ireland’s County Wicklow, with guitarist Steve Phillips, bassist Norm Dahlor, keyboardist and fiddler Brent Hoad, drummer Kian Byrne, and fiddler Diana Ladio. To date, The Elders have produced 7 full-length studio CDs and 3 live CD/DVDs.

Their songs are mystical, comical, political and cultural, while covering a wide variety of topics such as poverty, civil war, family bonds, spirituality, love and friendship. They tell us stories of people, places and events – some recent, some distant, some real and some imagined.

Thanks to our Sponsors:

Chicopee Savings

Kathleen Doe Creative Design

Dr. Megan Doe

Congressman Richard Neal




Mary Ellen O'Brien

Mary Ellen Lowney and Sean Cahillane

City Line Cafe




Sullivan Keating Moran Insurance




All sales are final. Refunds are given ONLY in the event of cancellation by performers.

I am writing to ask current members to renew your membership for 2016, or for new members to join the ICC for the first time.

Your membership enables the ICC to provide a wide range of programming, including Celtic Adventures for Kids summer camp; Irish film series; two annual tours to Ireland; our Annual Breakfast; Irish Christmas celebrations; and Irish language classes taught by an Irish Fulbright foreign language teaching assistant. This year, we were excited to present Leo and Anto of The Saw Doctors, and we hosted an extremely popular three-show summer Concert Series, showcasing traditional Celtic music and introducing new artists to this area.

Our 2016 Membership Campaign is now in full swing! Please download and return our renewal form. Or, you can easily join online using PayPal. I encourage you to help the ICC grow its membership; seek out a friend or family member and ask them to join.

The ICC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. Membership dues and charitable donations are vital to help the ICC pay operating expenses, develop new programs, expand and exhibit our collection of cultural artifacts, and continue to provide high quality events for the community. We also offer options for sponsorship, additional charitable donations, and bequests.

This is a time of great opportunity, progress and growth for the ICC. As you know, we will soon be moving to our new facility at 429 Morgan Road in West Springfield. We have been working steadily at our new location, and are making significant progress in our effort to refurbish the building and grounds. We are currently in the design phase of the first round of restoration, including the offices, playing fields, and the Irish pub, and will continue to update you throughout this exciting transition.

The ICC provides unique opportunities to support and actively participate in Irish culture. We sincerely appreciate your support, and thank you for your continued commitment to the Irish Cultural Center.

Sean F. Cahillane
Irish Cultural Center of Western New England

GIving TuesdayThe Irish Cultural Center is participating in GivingTuesday this December 1! This global movement of generosity allows nonprofits to join together and raise funds for the causes that matter to them. Please consider making a donation to the ICC on December 1 – you can also make a donation before the event and it will be scheduled to count for the GivingTuesday total.

The ICC is in the running to win a category based Golden Ticket, during the Arts & Culture hour of 3:00 – 4:00 pm. The nonprofit with the most unique donors during this time wins $500. Please help increase our chances by donating during this time!

This is a time of great opportunity, progress and growth for the Irish Cultural Center. In due time, we will be moving to the former Elks Lodge property at 429 Morgan Road, allowing us to expand our program offerings for our members and the community.

This new site will provide an amazing opportunity for the ICC to expand into larger space, with a multi-level building and almost 10 acres of land. The facility will include a performance, banquet and lecture hall, a museum and library, three larger offices, a traditional Irish pub, grounds with gardens and athletic playing fields.

Your donation this GivingTuesday will add to our fundraising efforts for the refurbishment of the building and grounds. We value your contribution and thank you for your support!

Cherish the LadiesThe ICC is sponsoring a bus trip to see Cherish the Ladies: Celtic Christmas at the UMassAmherst Fine Arts Center on Thursday, December 10. Cherish the Ladies create an evening that includes a spectacular blend of virtuoso instrumental talents, beautiful vocals, captivating arrangements, and stunning step dancing. Their continued success as one of the top Celtic groups in the world is due to the ensemble’s ability to take the best of Irish traditional music and dance and put it forth in an immensely entertaining show. Celebrate the season with this special Christmas concert!

Tickets are $48 for ICC members and $53 for non-members. Ticket cost includes bus transportation, driver tip, and reserved seat at the concert.
Don’t bother with the hassle of driving to the venue and parking. Leaving your car at Elms College is easy and convenient. The bus will depart from Elms College at 6:30 pm from the Sheila Ryan Flynn Parking Lot on the corner of Springfield Street and Fairview Avenue in Chicopee, MA (near the traffic lights). Performance begins at 7:30 pm.

Tickets are limited, order early! Makes a great Christmas gift! For information and to order tickets, call the Irish Cultural Center at 413-265-2537. Please RSVP by December 1.

Cherish the Ladies: A Dash for the Presents / Joy to the World / Parnell’s March

Lisa TaylorLisa C. Taylor, a Connecticut-based author who travels to and writes regularly in Ireland, will read from and discuss her new short story collection Growing a New Tail on Sunday, November 22 at 3:00 pm.

The Irish Cultural Center will present the event at the Collegian Court at 89 Park Street in Chicopee, MA. It is free and open to the public. Food and drink will be available to order at the restaurant.

Taylor’s new book, published by Arlen House/Syracuse University Press and released in Dublin in September, is a collection of short stories written in Irish-style film noire, reflecting the heavy influence of her trips to Ireland, where she has lived and traveled through extensively.

Her fondness for dark stories and complex characters comes from her love of Irish literature and her various mentors both here and abroad.

Growing a New TailJoin the ICC for a book talk and reading from Growing a New Tail, a collection about which one reviewer had this to say:

“With Growing a New Tail, Taylor has crafted a staggeringly beautiful collection, each story balancing upon the precarious vision of its narrator, the heavy hand of memory and tenuous film of the future.  It is a collection in which God truly is ‘a fickle sort.’  Taylor is an expert craftsman, shaping with a precise and nimble hand, stories which leave you breathless, lingering, latched to the back of your throat: there are no gift wrapped endings here.” (Sonder Review, 2015)

Taylor is the author of four collections of poetry and her new collection.

Taylor’s poetry and fiction writing has been published in the Worcester Review, Crack the Spine Anthology (best of), Crannóg, Connecticut River Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Map Literary, Sonder Review, and many other national and international journals and anthologies.

Her honors include the Hugo House New Works in Fiction Award (2015), Pushcart nominations in fiction and poetry, five AAUP Faculty Development Awards, a Surdna Arts Teaching Fellowship, the University of Connecticut Elizabeth Shanley Gerson lecturer of Irish Literature (with Irish writer Geraldine Mills), and artist residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland.

Her last poetry book was featured as a literary pick on Faith Middleton’s book show on WNPR in 2013. She was a spotlight feature for Associated Writing Programs in January of 2015 and a writing mentor in spring of 2015. Two of her collections have been taught in college classes. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast/University of Southern Maine, and an MA from University of Connecticut. She teaches creative writing, critical thinking, gender roles in media, and fiction at Nichols College and Eastern Connecticut State University.

DingleAn informational session about the Irish Cultural Center’s 10-day springtime tour to Ireland will be held on October 18 at 2:00 pm in the Mary Dooley Campus Center, Room 207, at Elms College, 291 Springfield Street in Chicopee, MA.

Participants can experience Ireland’s two treasures – Dingle and Galway. The Irish Cultural Center’s Rose Baker and Pat Baker are teaming up to host the trip from May 10 to May 19, 2016.

The tour is well-rounded with beautiful coastal scenery, charming towns, and bustling cities, as well as visits to some of Ireland’s most historic settings. There will be multiple night stays in Dingle and Galway to allow for a more leisurely tour with more free time to immerse in the beauty, hospitality and culture of Ireland’s two favorite towns.

Travelers will stay five nights in Dingle (Dingle Skellig Hotel) and three nights in Galway (Galway Bay Hotel) at top-rated hotels. Highlights of the tour include day trips to Slea Head, Gallarus Oratory, Kilmalkedar Church, Blasket Centre, Blarney Castle, Cliffs of Moher and more.

The trip will include direct flight/roundtrip airfare to Shannon Airport, transportation to and from New York’s JFK International Airport from Elms College, and dinner and breakfast every day.

The total cost of the trip per person/double room occupancy is $2,425; $2,750 single room occupancy. A $1,000 per person deposit is requested to reserve space on the tour.

Tour is limited and will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. For more information, contact Rose Baker at (413) 519-2135 or Pat Baker at (413) 348-3263 or visit the tour info page.

The ICC’s Annual Breakfast, on Sunday, October 4 at 10:00 am at the Yankee Pedlar in Holyoke, is a great opportunity to meet and mingle, with good food, pleasant company, and a review of the year’s activities. The public is welcome to attend this annual event.

Tickets are $20 for members and $23 for non-members. They will not be sold at the door; please call the ICC for more info or to reserve your place at a table: 413-265-2537.

The Last Blasket KingAuthors Gerald Hayes and Eliza Kane will be featured speakers at the event. Hayes and Kane are authors of the recently released “The Last Blasket King, Pádraig Ó Catháin, An Rí,” which tells the story of the last King of the Great Blasket Island located off the coast of Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland.

The Great Blasket has special significance in the Springfield area because so many islanders relocated here during the decline of the island in the first half of the twentieth century. Among those who settled in Springfield was Mike “The Fiddler” Kane, the King’s first-born son.

Eliza Kane is great-great-granddaughter of Pádraig Ó Catháin, the last King of the Great Blasket Island. She is co-producer of “The Crest,” a documentary film about the King and his descendants. She has taught literature and writing in the United States and France. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter, the great-great-great-granddaughter of the King.

Gerald Hayes is the son-in-law of Michael Carney, a Blasket-born Springfield resident who died in late August at the age of 94. In 2013, Hayes and Carney co-authored “From the Great Blasket to America: The Last Memoir by an Islander,” which tells of Carney’s own life voyage from the Great Blasket to Springfield. Hayes is a retired vice president of Westfield State University in Westfield.

Hayes and Kane will speak about their book, which has been published by The Collins Press of Cork, Ireland. Autographed copies will be on sale at the event.

From the book:

“There is something magical about the notion of a King on a small isolated island. Few would look at the ruins on the Great Blasket and imagine a King had lived there. Yet the King was a very forceful presence on this island. The last was Pádraig Ó Catháin, known as ‘Peats Mhicí,’ who served for about twenty-five years until his death in 1929. To the islanders, he was arguably the most important citizen and was the central figure on the island during its literary flowering. He helped the slanders navigate through life and national and world events such as the 1916 Rising and The Great War. He collaborated with the other ‘elders’ in planning the transfer of ownership of the island from the Earl of Cork to the Congested Districts Board in 1907 and, in turn, to the islanders themselves. They also participated in the reorganization of the field system between 1907 and 1917.

This is the first account of the King’s extraordinary life, written in collaboration with his descendants in the USA and Ireland. It tells of the very special, unique man, his many contributions to the island and his extended legacy.”

Please join us for this enlightening and entertaining event.

In Irish, the phrase “Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam,” means “A country without a language is a country without a soul.” For centuries, the Irish language in Ireland was suppressed and diminished, but it was never completely eradicated. As a way to preserve the culture and to connect to the soul of Ireland and our ancestors, many people both in Ireland and also around the world study the Irish language.

To that end, the Irish Cultural Center and Elms College are pleased to offer a range of Irish classes for the 2015/2016 academic year. In addition, this partnership is again successful in bringing to campus our sixth consecutive Irish Language Fulbright Teaching Assistant, Síle Dolan, who has a B.A. in Irish and French from National University of Ireland in Galway and has completed her work for a M.A. in Irish Language from University College Dublin. She brings a great deal of talent, enthusiasm, and experience and will help us showcase and develop the language in our community.

Síle will teach a Novice class for credit on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. She will also teach the Intermediate class, which may be taken on a credit or non-credit basis. This meets on Wednesday evenings.

In addition, members of the ICC will instruct non-credit course offerings. There will be two sections of First Year Irish, which is designed for those who have no, or very little, knowledge of the language. Gerald Costello, who has participated in Immersion Programs in Kerry and Connemara and has taught Irish at local schools, will teach one section on Tuesday evenings. Kathleen Gilhooly, a recently retired English teacher at Springfield Central High School, an instructor at the ICC’s Lá na Gaeilge and the Celtic Adventures for Kids camp, and who has been studying Irish since 1981, will teach the other First Year Irish section on Thursday nights.

On Monday nights, Chip will teach First Year Irish, Semester Two for those who have had one semester of Irish or its equivalent.

On Saturday mornings, Kathleen will teach Second Year Irish for those who have had one year of Irish or its equivalent.

On Tuesday nights, Tom Moriarty will teach Third Year Irish, a course designed for those who have had two or more years of Irish but are not yet prepared to enroll in the Intermediate class. Tom, a professor emeritus at the Elms and a founding member of the ICC, also began studying Irish in 1981, and has taught Irish for many years. He has participated in Immersion Programs in Kerry and Donegal.

On Friday nights, an informally structured Irish study group for advanced learners meets on a regular basis throughout the year, including summers. This group has been meeting since 1984, with various members, and is always eager to welcome new participants.

The ICC does have funds that have been provided by donations in memory of John Johnson. If you are aware of anyone who would like to study the language and might need some assistance, please call the ICC at 413-265-2537 for details.

If you have any comments or suggestions, or would like to become a member of the Irish Language subcommittee of the ICC, please contact geraldf.costello@gmail.com, thomasf.moriarty@gmail.com, or gilhoolyk231@comcast.net.

We look forward to seeing you this fall!
ICC members receive a discount on class tuition.

Learn more about each class and download the registration form.
Or call the Registrar’s office at 413-265-2314.