The Irish Cultural Center is pleased to announce its new future location at 429 Morgan Road in West Springfield, MA. It is the former home of the Elks Lodge. The ICC has signed a twenty-year lease with the City of West Springfield, and in due time will be moving to its new location. View photos from the official lease signing ceremony on July 28, 2015.
ICC President Sean F. Cahillane said the Irish cultural organization is thrilled to have a new home with room to hold lectures and concerts, sports events, meetings, as well as an ICC museum and library. Since it began in 1999, the ICC has been based out of the Elms College in Chicopee, MA, hosting events there and at various other locations, and recently struggling for space as the college continues its own expansion.
“The West Springfield property is the perfect space for us. We have been looking for some time for a suitable property that we can call home, and that can meet all of our needs,” Cahillane said. “This is clearly it. We’re happy to be working with the City of West Springfield on our new location.”
Cahillane said the ICC will continue its strong collaboration with the Elms, including offering Irish language classes this year, with a sixth consecutive Irish Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant.
President Sister Mary Reap, IHM. Ph.D., says “The community of the College of Our Lady of the Elms is delighted to learn that the Irish Cultural Center has acquired a new home in West Springfield. We have been very happy to house the offices on our campus for many years. But, we are also very pleased that the membership and activities have grown to a level where more space is sorely needed. Our partnership will continue just as it has continued with the Polish Center that also began on the campus and moved to larger space as it grew. We look forward to this next phase of development for the Center and for the additional ways in which the Irish culture, so important to our history, can be passed on to future generations.”
The lease on the property, which includes a two-story building and 27 acres with parking lots and ball fields, is the culmination of an extensive search of dozens of alternative sites examined over the course of the last 12 months.
Rose Baker, an ICC board member who lives in West Springfield, said the new space would serve as a vehicle to highlight the area’s rich Irish culture. “This location will allow the ICC to offer a collaborative, unique space where people can come together to celebrate and promote the Irish culture and heritage,” Baker said. “As a resident of West Springfield, the City provides an extremely supportive community that embraces the development of long-term relationships.”
The ICC’s name is also changing to the Irish Cultural Center of Western New England, to reflect the broadened scope of their mission and membership. The new facility and name change are the culmination of two years of strategic planning.
Mayor of West Springfield, Ed Sullivan, said he is delighted the Irish Cultural Center of Western New England has chosen West Springfield as its home. “I believe this will be a great partnership and I am looking forward to the Center becoming an integral part of the fabric of our community and region. I look forward to the opportunities the Center will provide to educate others on the rich history of the Irish both in the United States and Europe. May the great luck of the Irish be with the Center for decades to come.”
The ICC will soon launch a capital campaign to raise funds for the refurbishment of the building. During this process, the ICC will move forward, expanding event offerings, community outreach and member benefits, thus fulfilling the promise of keeping the Irish arts alive.
The Irish Cultural Center was established in 1999 to foster an appreciation of Irish culture in Western New England. The mission of the Irish Cultural Center is to cultivate a connection with Ireland, through the arts, culture, history, language, and heritage. The Center offers opportunities to engage in educational, travel, and social events that promote Irish culture.
The Irish Cultural Center is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable cultural organization.