Giving TuesdayThe Irish Cultural Center is participating in GivingTuesday this November 29! This global movement of generosity allows non-profits to join together and raise funds for the causes that matter to them. Please consider making a donation to the ICC on November 29 – you can also make a donation early starting November 22 and it will be scheduled to count for the GivingTuesday total.

This is a time of great opportunity, progress and growth for the Irish Cultural Center. We have moved to the former Elks Lodge property at 429 Morgan Road in West Springfield, allowing us to expand our program offerings for our Patrons and the community. Our new home provides 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 restaurant and 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. You are also supporting the Irish arts in our community. We value your contribution and thank you for your support!

Eileen Markey

*Please note venue change! Event will now be held at the Collegian Court in Chicopee.*
Springfield native and investigative journalist Eileen Markey will read from and discuss her new book, A Radical Faith: The Assassination of Sr. Maura at the Collegian Court Restaurant, 89 Park Street in Chicopee, MA on Saturday, November 26 at 2:00 pm.

The public is welcome to attend this free event. Doors open at 1:00 pm. Food and drinks are available for purchase. 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.

Markey’s book focuses on the life of Maryknoll Sister Maura Clarke, one of four American women – three of them Roman Catholic nuns – who were brutally murdered in El Salvador in December 1980. News of the killing shocked the American public and set off a decade of debate over Cold War policy in Latin America. But as Congress held hearings, the State Department, CIA and FBI traded memos, and supporters held emotional memorial services, the women themselves became symbols, shorn of context and background: hapless victims.

Eileen Markey A Radical FaithDrawing on interviews with Maura’s family and the people she loved and worked with, her letters, and still heavily-redacted government documents, Markey followed the trail of Maura’s life through four countries: from the sweeping green fields of her parents’ Ireland where her father’s involvement in the Irish revolution shaped her own ideas about rebellion; to the boardwalk and sidewalks of Rockaway, New York; to a remote gold mining town in the mountains of Nicaragua; down rutted, washed out roads in El Salvador to villages where survivors whispered the atrocities of civil war—and finally to the place where Maura’s body was buried in a hastily dug grave at the edge of the Cold War.

How did a sweet girl from Queens end up in a place like this? A RADICAL FAITH answers the question, weaving an intimate portrait of Maura’s spiritual and political journey.

Working in poor communities transformed Maura from an obedient and rule-bound young woman into a provocative critic of authority who pushed the boundaries of what it meant to be faithful to religious conviction—even if it meant challenging the CIA-backed regimes terrorizing the poor of Latin America.

In examining the forces that shaped Maura’s life, Markey was able to look closely at the inheritance of Irish nationalism, the immigrant experience in New York, the Cold War, the adaptations of the Catholic Church at Vatican II and the social and political movements that convulsed Central America in the 1970s and 1980s. Maura was shaped by each of these and is remembered with pride and affection by those who knew and worked with her- especially in Nicaragua and El Salvador.

Her story continues to be relevant as the crimes of the 1980s in Central America begin to be prosecuted, the fall-out of those wars continue to reverberate in current immigration patterns, as Americans continue to grapple with the role of faith in public life and as we all negotiate a world of distraction and fear. Maura paid attention. She sincerely followed the very radical commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. I’ve tried to tell her story fully, with nuance and care so that this icon some of us know from prayer cards becomes a real woman again.

Markey grew up in Springfield, one of seven children of ICC members Martin and Sally Markey. Her investigative reporting work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, the Village Voice, the National Catholic Reporter and American Magazine. She has worked for WNYC and was a contributing editor at City Limits.

She has reported from Cambodia, Haiti, and London, and cut her teeth covering crime and corruption in Paterson, New Jersey.

She is a graduate of Fordham University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in the Bronx with her husband and two sons.

ONCE The MusicalONCE the musical is coming to the UMassAmherst Fine Arts Center on Thursday, December 1. Please join the ICC on a bus trip to see this truly original Broadway experience and winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical. Featuring an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, ONCE tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. It’s an unforgettable story about going for your dreams, not living in fear, and the power of music to connect all of us. With our bus trip, you don’t need to worry about driving, parking or a long cold walk from the parking lot – you are dropped off right at the FAC door.

Tickets: $72 ICC Patrons, $75 General. The price includes the round trip bus, show ticket and driver gratuity. The bus will leave at 6:00 pm from the ICC at 429 Morgan Road in West Springfield. Parking is available. The performance begins at 7:00 pm.

Tickets are limited, order early! Please order by November 28. Makes a great early Christmas gift! For information and to order tickets, please call the ICC at 413-333-4951. Or download and mail in the order form.

If you reserve a ticket and are then unable to attend, please call or text 413-896-4604 to let us know so the bus is not held up.

The ICC’s Annual Breakfast 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.

Please join us on Sunday, October 30 at 10:00 am at the Yankee Pedlar in Holyoke. Tickets: $20 ICC Patrons and $23 General. They will not be sold at the door; please call the ICC for more info or to reserve your place at a table: 413-333-4951. Or download and mail in the order form.

Dr. Mary C. Kelly, our featured speaker, will present “Empowering Exile: Irish-American Intellectual Culture from the Great Famine to the 1916 Rising.” Dr. Kelly will explore key aspects of the Irish-American nationalist tradition between the Famine and 1916.

Dr. Kelly is a historian of the Irish-American immigrant experience and its transatlantic foundations. She graduated from National University of Ireland, Galway, with a Modern Irish History M.A., and from Syracuse University with a Ph.D. in Modern American History. She is Professor of History at Franklin Pierce University, NH, where she has taught for almost two decades. Since publishing The Shamrock and the Lily: The New York Irish and the Creation of a Transatlantic Identity, 1845-1921 (2005), she has pursued themes of identity and transatlantic connections in Irish-American history. Her latest book is Ireland’s Great Famine in Irish American History: Enshrining a Fateful Memory (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014). Dr. Kelly continues to explore the nexus of faith and politics in current research on Irish-American involvement with 1916 and the Irish Revolution. Professor Kelly was honored with a 2014 Keene State College President’s Outstanding Women in New Hampshire Award and the 2016 Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Committee Ambassador Award.

Aideen HenryIrish writer Aideen Henry will be discussing and reading from her literary works on Saturday, October 15 at 2:00 pm at the Collegian Court Restaurant, 89 Park Street in Chicopee, MA. This event is free and open to the public. 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.

Aideen Henry lives in Galway and is a writer and a physician. She has published short fiction and poetry.

Her short stories were shortlisted for the Francis McManus Award in Ireland in 2011, 2012 & 2015. Her debut collection of short stories, Hugging Thistles, was published with Arlen House in 2013.

Her debut collection of poetry, Hands Moving at the Speed of Falling Snow, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2010 and she was shortlisted for the Hennessy XO Literary Awards for poetry. Her second poetry collection, Slow Bruise, was published with Salmon Poetry in 2015.

She has been awarded a Literature Bursary by the Irish Arts Council and has been writer in residence at the Heinrich Boll Cottage, Achill Island and at Áras Éanna, Inis Oirr, Aran Islands. Her work has been published in literary journals in Ireland, the UK and the US.

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:

*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

Great Hunger Museum

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