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Posted in Latest News

Laura Hurley Appointed As Chief Advancement Officer

Laura HurleyLaura Hurley of Longmeadow has been appointed to serve as Chief Advancement Officer at the Irish Cultural Center of Western New England.

Hurley, who has strong ties to the area and who has worked in several capacities strengthening non-profit groups and organizations, will help steer the ICC towards expansion on all levels, including patronage, events, travel, and fundraising.

ICC President Sean F. Cahillane welcomed Hurley aboard the organization that promotes Irish culture and heritage throughout Western New England.

“We are thrilled to have Laura Hurley working with us to further our mission and to keep us viable for the future, for many years to come,” Cahillane said. “She’s a perfect fit for our organization in all ways.”

“Already, she is enthusiastic and energized to successfully promote the ICC. We’re looking forward to a great 2021,” he said.

This position is funded by a grant from the Irish Government’s Emigrant Support Programme, coming from Dublin to the ICC via the Boston Irish Consul General’s Office under the direction of Consul General Laoise Moore and Vice Consul General Shane Caffrey.

Cahillane thanked the Irish government for the continuation of this grant, now in its fourth year.

“This grant is an integral part of our success here in West Springfield, and we appreciate it very much,” he said.

Hurley said she is ready to go in helping to guide the organization toward sustained growth, even with the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am happy to be a part of this organization, and I look forward to helping steer it forward to greater growth and success,” she said. “I feel I am where I belong.”

In her new role, Hurley will have a particular focus on increasing the number of ICC Patrons and identifying and working with new donors. She will help to expand the projects that the ICC has been working to grow in its 22 years of existence.

Hurley has lived in the area for over 45 years and is vested in the region as well as in her Irish heritage.

She comes to the ICC with over 25 years of development and grant writing experience. Her professional experience includes time at Partners for a Healthier Community, and as a consultant in elder care and estate management.

She also brings to the table years of experience in strategic planning and facilitative leadership.

Hurley’s background in development and grant writing will be a great asset to the ICC, to increase the financial sustainability and growth of the ICC. She will focus on development of the ICC throughout Western New England and promote success and stability for generations to come.

She is second-generation Irish who loves to hike and travel and is known to have made many stops in Ireland. She has one son.

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, located at 429 Morgan Road in West Springfield, offers opportunities to engage in educational, travel, and social events that promote Irish culture.

Posted in Latest News

Irish Music with Brigita Gallagher – Online Event

Brigita Gallagher

The Irish Cultural Center of Western New England welcomes you to a night of Irish music and lore with our Fulbright Scholar, Brigita Gallagher, and guests, at 7 pm on Monday, February 1. This is St. Brigid’s Day, or Imbolc, marking the beginning of Celtic spring.

Register!
This hour-long Zoom event is free to all. Please register here so we may contact you with the link to view the event. 

Gallagher, an accomplished violinist, will perform traditional Irish music, interspersed with information about her craft and the tradition of Irish music. This event will also feature two musical guests – local flute player Ellen Redman, a regular performer at the Wednesday night seisiún at the ICC, and professional Irish pianist and native Irish speaker Hannah Fitzgerald of Midleton, County Cork. Both will play a few songs and say a few words.

Gallagher, from Ladysbridge in County Cork, Ireland, is the ICC’s eleventh Irish Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant. She is teaching Irish language this academic year at Elms College, in courses offered to Elms students as well as to the general public.

Brigita, or Gita as she is better known, holds a B.A. International degree in Irish and French, and has just graduated from her Professional Masters in Education from University College Cork. While at UCC, Gita was awarded Onóir na Gaeilge for her contribution to the Irish language. As Development Officer for An Chuallacht (the Irish Language Society) she played a key role in promoting Irish – including hosting a regular Irish programme on UCC Campus Radio, involvement with the Irish Language Accommodation in the college, and organizing many social events to cultivate an interest in and a love of Irish.

This event will be recorded for those unable to view live. 

Posted in Latest News

Irish History Courses in February

The Irish Cultural Center is linking up with Irish historian, Sean Murphy, to introduce our community to live, weekly online Irish history courses. The courses are presented using Zoom. If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, no problem. Sean will contact you directly and assist you to get connected.

Sean presents two courses, divided into four-week modules. The first is a chronological general history of Ireland from ancient times to the present day. Students can enroll on a rolling basis for those parts of Irish history they are most interested in or have the time to participate in. The course module for February is The Tudor Conquest of Ireland. Takes place on Thursdays, February 4, 11, 18 & 25 from 7:30–9:00 pm. Download course flyer.

The second course is a general history of each of the thirty two counties in Ireland. This covers the major events from ancient times to the present day. A profile of the major clans and of the most famous individuals from the county will be featured. Segments will also focus on historic sites, the county name, landscapes, and music and dance. This course will be particularly useful to those interested in their Irish heritage, seeking to understand their ancestral home, and the reasons their ancestors left. Featured in February is Derry City & County. Takes place on Thursdays, February 4, 11, 18 & 25 from 6:00–7:30 pm. Download course flyer.

The enrollment fee is $80 for each four-week course. Courses are presented on Zoom. Each student will receive an electronic copy of each presentation. The classes are one and a half hour long to allow adequate time for questions and answers.

To Enroll
Please contact Sean directly for information or to enroll in his course(s) – send an email to seanmurphy630@gmail.com or call 508-790-0438.  

About Sean Murphy
Sean Murphy was born and reared 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 worked as a math teacher in public schools until he retired in 2017.

He is a teacher of Irish history, music, and dance. Over the past twelve years he has taught courses at the Irish Cultural Center of New England in Canton, Cape Cod Sons of Erin, Cape Cod Cultural Center, the Cotuit Center for the Arts, and at venues on Nantucket.

Since the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic he has been presenting his courses online using Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook. He has recently decided to offer online Tin Whistle classes at the Nantucket Community and Music School.

His interest in Irish history and culture stems from his involvement in a wide range of community activities in Ireland starting in the late ’60’s. In 1998 he was elected as the representative of the community and voluntary sector on the Dublin City Development Board that produced the strategic Plan “Dublin: A City of Possibilities 2001-2012.”

In 2014 and 2019 he was awarded the Thomas P McCann “Altruism Award” trophy by the Cape Cod St. Patrick’s Day Committee for his “support and commitment to the Culture and Heritage of Ireland and its people.”

He leads a traditional Irish music session in O’Shea’s Old Inne in West Dennis every Sunday night. He speaks on Irish cultural and historic issues at libraries, and at private and community events across the Cape and beyond.

Posted in Latest News

Holyoke Parade Committee Announces Cancellation

We are saddened to learn that the 69th annual Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade Committee has cancelled this year’s parade, due to the increase in numbers of Covid-19 infections. The Holyoke Parade Committee voted to postpone this year’s parade until March of 2022, citing safety reasons and the protection of the community as well as those who travel to attend the parade.

Irish Cultural Center President Sean Cahillane said the annual parade and related festivities will be missed this year.

“Winter ends on March 20, 2021, and the biggest rite of passage into spring is marked in Western New England by the Holyoke Parade,” Cahillane said.

“Holyoke parade season is a glorious time of the year which will be greatly missed. Also, the parade has a significant economic and cultural impact, and is simply a load of fun,” he added.

Cahillane gave credit to the many hard-working volunteers who work tirelessly to organize and execute events including the parade, the road race, and other dinners and celebrations. He lauded their ongoing commitment to making each year’s celebrations a success.

“We know how dedicated and enthusiastic the Holyoke Parade Committee and all the surrounding city and town parade committees are. All the involved hard-working volunteers are incredible. They all work diligently the whole year, let’s recognize these promoters of all things Irish for their commitment.”    

Holyoke Parade Committee President, Marc Joyce agreed, stating, “We will march again, and we will have much to celebrate over homecoming weekend in 2022.”

Stephanie Joyce, who serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke, as well as the Treasurer of the Irish Cultural Center, added: 

“It is unfortunate that we had to cancel the parade and road race and we know that everyone in the region is disappointed. Our committee of 200-plus volunteers work tirelessly year-round to plan and execute these events, but the safety of our participants, viewers and public safety workers is our number one priority. St. Patrick’s weekend brings such an economic boost to the local economy I would encourage everyone to support the local businesses that are most impacted by this decision. We look forward to 2022 when we can all march again.”

ICC St. Patrick's Parade

Posted in Latest News

Online Event: Hitching for Hope – A Journey Into the Heart and Soul of Ireland

A virtual gathering of inspiration and conversation live from the west coast of Ireland with bestselling Irish author Ruairí McKiernan.

Ruairi McKiernan

Please join us on Thursday, January 14 at 7 pm EST for Hitching for Hope: A Journey into the Heart and Soul of Ireland, with Irish author Ruairi McKiernan. This free event will be broadcast on Zoom and Facebook live. It is sure to be an uplifting, enlightening and inspiring hour filled with stories, conversation and craic with one of Ireland’s most impressive public speakers. Registration is required and attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions during this live one-hour event.

McKiernan is the author of Hitching for Hope – a Journey into the Heart and Soul of Ireland. He is also a charity founder, Fulbright fellow and former member of the Council of State. He is originally from Cootehill, County Cavan. His new book was published internationally in March 2020 by U.S. publishers Chelsea Green and despite challenging circumstances, it managed to land a number 1 bestseller spot in the Irish Times paperback non-fiction charts. The book is part memoir, part Irish travel adventure and it’s also very much a celebration of hope and community spirit during turbulent times.

On January 14, McKiernan will read from his book and lead a discussion on the key themes of kindness, courage, resilience, and community spirit. The hour will end with a question-and-answer session between himself and audience members. Dublin-born musician Enda Reilly will be joining the gathering to provide original and traditional Irish tunes.

Learn More and Register
Register for this free online event and learn more about this bestselling author.

Posted in Latest News

Irish History Courses in January

The Irish Cultural Center is linking up with Irish historian, Sean Murphy, to introduce our community to live, weekly online Irish history courses. The courses will be presented using Zoom. If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, no problem. Sean will contact you directly and assist you to get connected.

Sean presents two courses. The first is a chronological general history of Ireland from ancient times to the present day. The course is divided into four-week modules. Students can enroll on a rolling basis for those parts of Irish history they are most interested in or have the time to participate in. The course module for January is The Norman Conquest of Ireland. Takes place on Thursdays, January 7, 14, 21 & 28, 2021 from 7:30–9:00 pm. Download course flyer.

The second course is a general history of each of the thirty two counties in Ireland. The course is divided into four-week modules. This covers the major events from ancient times to the present day. A profile of the major clans and of the most famous individuals from the county will be featured. Segments will also focus on historic sites, the origin of the county name, picturesque landscapes, and the music and dance associated with that county. This course will be particularly useful to those interested in their Irish heritage, seeking to understand their ancestral home, and the reasons their ancestors left. The county featured in the January course is Kerry. Takes place on Thursdays, January 7, 14, 21 & 28, 2021 from 6:00–7:30 pm. Download course flyer. 

The enrollment fee is $80 for each four-week course. Courses will be presented on Zoom using PowerPoint. Each student will receive an electronic copy of each presentation. The classes are one and a half hour long to allow adequate time for questions and answers.

To Enroll
Please contact Sean directly for information or to enroll in his course(s) – send an email to seanmurphy630@gmail.com or call 508-790-0438.  

About Sean Murphy
Sean Murphy was born and reared 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 worked as a math teacher in public schools until he retired in 2017.

He is a teacher of Irish history, music, and dance. Over the past twelve years he has taught courses at the Irish Cultural Center of New England in Canton, Cape Cod Sons of Erin, Cape Cod Cultural Center, the Cotuit Center for the Arts, and at venues on Nantucket.

Since the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic he has been presenting his courses online using Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook. He has recently decided to offer online Tin Whistle classes at the Nantucket Community and Music School.

His interest in Irish history and culture stems from his involvement in a wide range of community activities in Ireland starting in the late ’60’s. In 1998 he was elected as the representative of the community and voluntary sector on the Dublin City Development Board that produced the strategic Plan “Dublin: A City of Possibilities 2001-2012.”

In 2014 and 2019 he was awarded the Thomas P McCann “Altruism Award” trophy by the Cape Cod St. Patrick’s Day Committee for his “support and commitment to the Culture and Heritage of Ireland and its people.”

He leads a traditional Irish music session in O’Shea’s Old Inne in West Dennis every Sunday night. He speaks on Irish cultural and historic issues at libraries, and at private and community events across the Cape and beyond.

Posted in Latest News

Canceled – Meet Santa at the ICC on December 12

Meet Santa at the ICC

Important announcement! Santa’s visit on December 12 has been canceled. We’re all disappointed, but with the increase in COVID cases in the area, Santa has decided he needs to keep himself and his reindeer safe so they’re ready to go on Christmas Eve. Stay safe, and enjoy the holidays!

Posted in Latest News

Support the ICC on GivingTuesday December 1

Giving Tuesday
GivingTuesday is a Global Generosity Movement on December 1. There are two ways to support the Irish Cultural Center on this day of giving!
We are so proud of what the Irish Cultural Center has accomplished in the past 20+ years as an organization. We look forward to many more prosperous years of culture and friendship to come.

Donate to Giving Tuesday    Become an ICC Patron

Without financial donations, these achievements would not have been realized. This effort is successful because of the support of many who make a decision to act. In these uncertain times of a worldwide pandemic, financial support is more vital than ever to help keep the ICC going into the future. GivingTuesday is the perfect time to make a one-time tax-deductible gift in any amount.

This is also the perfect day to become an ICC Patron. A Patron is a person who has made a commitment to preserve, promote and cherish our Irish culture and heritage. The success and continued growth of the ICC is only possible because of the enthusiasm and sustaining commitment of our Patrons. Learn more about Patron levels and benefits. 

We have worked steadfastly on our new home in West Springfield to renovate and restore the facility, rebuilding it to suit our unique purposes of promoting and preserving our Irish heritage in the community. Weekly events at the ICC and in the Irish House Restaurant and Trinity Pub have continued to grow, including a traditional Irish music seisiún, concerts and live music, book readings, celebrity bartending events, charitable fundraisers, and a traditional céilí. Irish-oriented lectures, political discussions, international relations, GAA sports, Irish language classes, and student international exchange are all a part of what we provide the community. We look forward to continuing these events and welcoming you at the ICC again soon!

Whether you are Irish or not, love the language or the music, or just want to support the preservation of art and culture, your contribution is greatly appreciated. We understand that these are difficult times for everyone, and we are more thankful than ever for your continued commitment to the ICC.

Donate to Giving Tuesday    Become an ICC Patron

The Irish Cultural Center, Inc. of Western New England is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.

Posted in Latest News

ICC Plants Trees Thanks to Big E Grant

Something beautiful is happening outside at the Irish Cultural Center.

Thanks to a $1,000 grant from the West Springfield BIG E Trust Fund, the ICC has purchased and planted new trees: five red maples and a tulip tree.

The grant, targeted for field and landscaping enhancements, was administered by the Foundation Committee of the office of West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt.

ICC President Sean F. Cahillane said the trees are in the ground near the patio on the south side of the Irish House Restaurant and Trinity Pub. The trees will add beauty, along with a bank of erosion prevention.

“We’re very happy to have the trees as part of our ongoing landscaping to the property,” Cahillane said. “We thank the City of West Springfield and the mayor’s office for their ongoing support of our mission.”

The ICC aims to promote Irish culture through programs including travel, music, literature, language, and gatherings.

“The beauty that the trees bring will enhance the work that we do to keep our heritage alive in the area,” Cahillane noted.

With the guidance of retired Springfield City Forester Ed Casey, ICC officials selected and purchased five red maples to line the playing field as a buffer to the parking lot and a tulip tree planted near the patio to provide shade from evening sun glare.

All the trees were selected by Ed for their suitability to the site of their new home.

Cahillane said he “is looking forward to the spring to see the trees leaf out and we are hoping the trees live a long and healthy life for the next 50 years or more.”

The trees were professionally planted by John Lyncosky of West Springfield. Joseph Brady, a West Springfield resident and ICC patron, staked the trees down with guide wiring for protection against the winter winds.

The ICC field saw plenty of activity this 2020 year as numerous local players from the West Springfield Youth Soccer Club teams used the fields for practice.

The Greater Springfield Rifles Rugby Team held practices regularly even though the spring and fall Saturday Game Day season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Rifles Rugby Team at their new home field at the ICC celebrated their 50th anniversary in West Springfield. And the West Springfield High School Cross Country Team held several of their home fall meets at the Irish Cultural Center Field and on the Broad Brook Nature Trail.

ICC Plants Trees
Posted in Latest News
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