1916 The Irish Rebellion

*Update – this event is sold out. Thank you for your interest.* Please join us for this special event – a screening of the feature-length (86 minutes) version of the documentary 1916 The Irish Rebellion, followed by a panel discussion. Wednesday, September 28 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm in the Alumni Library Theater at Elms College in Chicopee, MA. This event is free and open to the public, but reservations in advance are required. Please RSVP here.

Narrated by actor Liam Neeson, 1916 The Irish Rebellion tells the dramatic story of the events that took place in Dublin during Easter of 1916. The documentary features a combination of rarely seen archival footage, new segments filmed on location worldwide, and interviews with leading international experts. The documentary is an initiative of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Panelists include:

• Christopher Fox (Executive Producer for Notre Dame of the documentary), Professor of English and Director, Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, University of Notre Dame.

• Bríona Nic Dhíarmada (Originator, Creator, Producer and Executive Producer of the documentary), Thomas J. and Kathleen M. O’Donnell Professor of Irish Studies and Concurrent Professor of Film, Television and Theater, University of Notre Dame.

• Dr. Damien Murray PhD (Associate Professor of History at Elms College).

Event Hosts/Sponsors:
Elms College, Irish Cultural Center of Western New England, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the Holyoke St Patrick’s Parade Committee.

When: Where: Alumni Library Theater, Elms College, 291 Springfield Street, Chicopee, MA 01013

Please RSVP here.


*Please note* – Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to cancel the bus trip to Boston on September 10. We still plan on running day trips like this in the future; stay tuned for new news.

The Irish Cultural Center is sponsoring a bus trip to Boston on Saturday, September 10, 2016. It’s Boston on your own! Perhaps visit Fenway Park for a tour, or follow the Freedom Trail, or stroll around Fanueil Hall Marketplace. Plenty of time to visit Boston’s favorite places and have lunch or dinner! A list of things to do in Boston will be provided.

Martin Ferris TD was in the US this past March, and visited the new ICC building on March 17, 2016. Mr. Ferris, West Springfield town officials, and the West Springfield Parade Committee and Colleen Court toured the the building as it was under construction.

Mr. Ferris has been a Sinn Féin TD since 2002, having previously been a member of Kerry County Council and Tralee Town Council.

Mr. Ferris was a member of Sinn Féin’s negotiating team in the lead up to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 and has travelled the world to promote the Peace Process and a United Ireland. He is Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Agriculture and Fisheries and is a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Martin Ferris TD Visit

Photos by Maureen Ryan.

Pádraig Ó hÉigeartaigh, or Patrick F. Hagerty, was a Gaelic poet and scholar from Cleveland Street in Springfield, MA. In August 1905, he wrote a lament for his six year old son who fell into the old Lombard reservoir on his way home from school and drowned. ‘Ochón, a Dhonncha/Lament for Donncha’ is one of the most anthologised poems in the Irish language and is studied by students in Ireland in schools and universities. Despite the recognition which has been given to his poem, until recently, little was know about Hagerty’s life. This presentation will discuss how Hagerty learned to read and write Irish in the States, how he passed on the language to his children, and delivered Irish languages classes in Springfield, Chicopee Falls, Hartford and Worcester. The presentation will also shed light on the Gaelic Feis of Springfield, which ran from 1904 to the 1920s and was the first and most successful of its kind in the United States.

Síobhra Aiken, former Irish Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant at Elms College, will present her latest research on Patrick Hagerty’s life on Wednesday, June 1 at 7:00 pm in the Library Theater at Elms College. Free and open to the public.

Síobhra is also seeking support from the community for her research. If anyone has any information about the Springfield Feis or the Springfield Irish Language Society, she would love to hear from you! The Irish Language Society also published booklets and magazines in the Irish language in the 1900s. This is quite a rare occurrence in the US, but unfortunately no copies of these magazines remain. If anyone has any copies of any material like this, Síobhra would love to hear from you! You can contact her at: siobhraa@gmail.com

*Please note* We have had to postpone this bus trip. It will be rescheduled for sometime this fall. Please stay tuned for further notice – we appreciate your interest!


The Irish Cultural Center is sponsoring a bus trip to Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT. The museum contains the world’s largest collection of Great Hunger-related art by noted contemporary Irish and Irish American artists, as well as a number of period paintings by some of Ireland’s most important 19th-century artists. We will be stopping for lunch at the Playwright Irish Pub in Hamden, CT after the museum visit.

Cost is $45 for ICC members and $48 for non-members. The price is all-inclusive (bus, lunch, tax and gratuities). The bus will depart from Elms College at 9:30 am from the Sheila Ryan Flynn Parking Lot on the corner of Springfield Street and Fairview Avenue in Chicopee, MA (near the traffic lights). Bus will depart from the museum at 2:00 pm for lunch, and we will arrive back at Elms College between 5:00 and 6:00 pm.

For information, call the ICC at 413-265-2537 or email irishcenter@elms.edu.

Great Hunger Museum

In the West of Ireland. Grace Henry (1868−1953). Oil on canvas.

Pass on the Heritage | July 25 –29, 2016 | Download a registration form.

Celtic Adventures for Kids is a week-long program designed to give children in Grades 1 through 9 an introduction to the richness of Irish culture, through the auspices of the Irish Cultural Center of Western New England and Elms College. Space is limited. Sign up early!

Daily Activities Include:
– Irish language
– Irish dance
– Irish music
– Arts & crafts
– Storytelling/literature
– Games

What to bring: Sneakers with non-marking soles; soft dance shoes if your child has them; swimsuit and towel; lunch (optional: money to purchase snacks.) The Maguire Center swimming pool will be available for the children to use daily during the week; lifeguard is on duty.

The program is in session from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Participants should be dropped off between 8:45 and 9:00 am at the Maguire Center at Elms College. Pick up is promptly at 3:00 pm at the Maguire Center.

WHEN: Monday, July 25 to Friday, July 29, 2016
WHERE: The Maguire Center at Elms College, Chicopee, MA
COST: $200 per child; $20 discount for Irish Cultural Center members; $20 discount for each additional child from the same family
NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT: $50 with registration due ASAP

Download a registration form.

Celtic Adventures for Kids

The Irish Cultural Center of Western New England will hold its fifteenth Lá na Gaeilge (Irish Language Day) on Saturday, May 7, 2016 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. The program consists of two classes available at four levels: a beginner’s class, a class for those who have an introductory knowledge of Irish, an intermediate-level class and a class for advanced learners. Download a registration form.

This year’s theme is the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising (Éirí Amach na Cásca), an armed insurrection for independence from British rule which took place in Ireland during Easter week, 1916.

As well as formal classes, Lá na Gaeilge consists of workshops (one on Tin Whistle, another on Dance), and Cómhrás (opportunities for conversation and dialog at the learner’s appropriate level).  A keynote address will be given by Dr. Thomas Moriarty, retired history professor at Elms College, on the 1916 uprising. Also participating will be Síle Dolan, of Cloghan, County Offaly, this year’s Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant, who is teaching introductory and intermediate level Irish at Elms College. Lá na Gaeilge concludes in a seisiún with an opportunity for participants to display their musical talents, and all are encouraged to bring their instruments and voices.

Lá na Gaeilge begins with registration at 8:30 am and concludes at about 5:00 pm. The cost is $50 per person, and $40 for ICC members. The cost for college-age and under students is $15. The price includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day. Lá na Gaeilge is a unique opportunity to encourage and promote Irish language learning at all levels. Registrations are due by April 25please download a registration form. For further information contact the ICC office at 413-265-2537 or email at irishcenter@elms.edu.

Irish Language Day

The History and Art Departments at Elms College are producing the exhibition “Of Terrible and Splendid Things: A Commemoration of the Easter Rising of 1916.” The exhibition marks the centenary of the Easter Rising as a pivotal event in modern Irish history, leading to the creation of a modern Irish state that ultimately achieved independence from the British Empire. Curated by Elms faculty and students, the exhibition uses photographs, memorabilia and other documents to explore the context of the Rising and its impact, both in Ireland and here, in the Irish-American communities of Western Massachusetts.

The exhibition is open daily (excluding college holidays) from March 7 – 31 in the Borgia Gallery (Dooley Campus Center) at Elms College, from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Please join us for a Gallery Opening Reception on March 21, from 5:00 – 8:00 pm.

The event has received generous support from both the Irish Cultural Center of Western New England and the Ancient Order of Hibernians, James A. Curran Division 1.

Exhibition: Commemoration of Easter Rising 1916

Walk proudly with us behind the ICC banner in the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade on Sunday, March 20! We invite all our members and friends to join us as we march with the West Springfield contingent this year, to celebrate our upcoming move to our new location.

RSVP to irishcenter@elms.edu or 413-265-2537. Please let us know if you would like to march, to make sure you receive more detailed information such as meeting time, etc. as we organize for this celebration of all things Irish.

Parade Details
The parade is a 2.9 mile walk through Holyoke. We will meet at the K-Mart parking lot on Route 5, Northampton Street, Holyoke, the morning of March 20. The parade will start at the parking lot just before noon, and ends at Holyoke City Hall. Marchers should arrange for their transportation at the end of the parade. We will be wearing our Irish sweaters or green jackets, with dark trousers.

This year’s parade promises to be another outstanding one. The Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade is the second largest in the country, with 200,000 onlookers regularly lining the parade route, and a total audience of 400,000. Learn more.

The ICC thanks the Chicopee Parade Committee for all the years of friendship and hospitality that they have shown our organization.

The Irish Cultural Center is partnering with the high schools of West Springfield, MA and Dingle, Ireland to cooperatively conduct an exciting educational and cultural exchange program between our two countries.

This year’s arrangement for the exchange program is sending West Springfield High School students to the Dingle Peninsula in April.

Twenty three young women in 10th and 11th grade at West Springfield High will participate in this unique experience, in the program’s second year.

The cohort of students will be traveling to the Dingle Peninsula along with trip chaperones, visiting many Irish  locations over their April vacation, such as the Blasket Islands, Blarney Castle, Limerick, Killarney Castle, and more. While in Dingle, the students will stay with host families who will provide a taste of Irish culture, including hiking, boat tours, local foods, and pottery making.

Many of their hosts are families of Dingle students who visited Springfield last year, the first year of this cultural exchange. The students were on a basketball team, many of them musically talented, and had the chance to experience Irish culture in our western MA community, and to take part in cultural and athletic activities.

The West Springfield students traveling to Ireland this year have a broad array of talents. Some are athletes as well, and will have the chance to take part in sporting events in Dingle. All of the students in this well-rounded educational exchange program will be able to experience the culture of Ireland, the arts, music, history, and daily life.

With the visit of the Dingle students last year being such a positive experience, the idea of an exchange program with the two communities was developed. The ICC is a proud co-sponsor of this endeavor, which supports our mission of cultivating a connection with Ireland, through the arts, culture, history, and education.

For many of the students, this is their first time flying and visiting another country. The opportunity to experience Ireland first-hand on such a personal level will be the adventure of a lifetime. National Geographic Magazine lists the Dingle Peninsula as one of the most beautiful places on earth. West Springfield High will be launching fundraising activities for this 10-day trip, with more information to come.