Irish Cultural Center
The Irish Cultural Center (ICC) provides a comprehensive and interactive cultural and learning experience linking the people of and visitors to Arizona with the people of Ireland and other Celtic cultures. We hope to preserve Irish heritage and culture in Arizona while illuminating the culture of Ireland and the Irish in America. This helps to promote international peace, friendship and goodwill. The ICC offers programs, classes, festivals and special events including history, music, art, dance, literature, drama, crafts, language, travel, sports and traditional activities.
The Irish Cultural Center campus is composed of three buildings and one memorial.
See below for details on each.
An Gorta Mór
2019 marked the 20th anniversary of the dedication of the An Gorta Mór, The Great Hunger Memorial at the Irish Cultural Center/McClelland Library. This monument, designed by Phoenix artist Maureen McGuire, was the first structure built on ICC site in 1999.
Seamus King did the marble/stone work, and Sean Prior composed the poem. The arch reflects a Celtic passageway, symbolizing entry from the old world to the new, from despair to hope, from oppression to freedom.
Sean (deceased) and Janet Lee.
Dave and Susan Tierney.
Jimmy O’Connor (deceased)
Maureen O’Mahar (deceased)
Sean Prior (deceased)
The Great Hall
Glancing to the right, you will see the Great Hall where Irish Dancing, film premiers and many other cultural activities take place. You can almost feel the presence of Irish farmers or grazers who would work in a stable or barn like the Great Hall and then celebrate at the end of a long work week by having barn dances, music concerts or theatrical productions. The ICC Great Hall has a fireplace with a stone facing made from stones from County Clare. You can also see authentic utensils that were in our members’ ancestral homes. On one wall is a monthly artwork display featuring the works of a variety of Irish and Celtic artists. Old photos of Irish history and a mural showcasing the beginnings of today’s Ireland are also on display.
To the left as you face the Castle is a replica of an 1850s era Irish Cottage. Passing through the doors takes you back in time to a different way of living. Large families lived in small spaces, meals were cooked in wooden fireplaces or stoves, clothes were made on hand looms and everyone in the family was expected to work.
The Castle - McClelland Library
Upon entering the ICC Complex on Central Avenue in Phoenix, a visitor can immediately feel as if they have travelled thousands of miles across the ocean and ended up in the middle of the Emerald Isle. Eyes are quickly drawn to the impressive McClelland Library Castle modeled after an old Gothic Castle. Its huge wooden entrance doors are more like a gateway to history than an entry to a library. If you glance down you will see a map of Ireland with all of its counties outlined on the Clos bricks. Families and individuals can purchase bricks to commemorate their Irish roots and these are emplaced within the outlines of the counties.