Board Meeting Dates

Annual Meeting: May 18th at noon

Current Board Members 2019


Leslie Thompson, President

Paul Ahern, Vice-President, Past President

Harold Bliss Jr., Treasurer

Patricia Prior, Secretary

Jim Daugherty, Chairman of the Board


Justin O’Brien

Frank Leavy

Jim Cunningham

Robert O’Neill

Declan Fox

Bridget Cunningham Costello

Pauline Kahabka

Jason O’Riain

Valerie O’Shea Jenter

Kenneth Scully

Maureen Sullivan












Our Mission:


The mission of the Irish Cultural Center is to Celebrate and promote Irish and Celtic Heritage and its influence on and partnership with other cultures.  The goal of the McClelland Library is to make accessible a comprehensive collection of materials on Ireland and the Irish diaspora on the role of Irish-Americans in Arizona and the Western United States.  The Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library are divisions of the Irish Cultural & Learning Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are owned and maintained by the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department.

Thank you to Norman P. McClelland for his dedicated service as Board Member and Treasurer.  He will be dearly missed.

Thanks to Sean Lee, Founder and Vice President of the ICLF, for his passion and commitment to the success of the Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library.

Leslie Thompson, Irish Cultural & Learning Foundation President

Leslie Thompson was born in Dublin to Pat and Rita Curran also from Dublin. She is the eldest of three sisters and one brother, all of whom reside in Ireland. She studied Electronics and Computer Maintenance at Kevin Street College of Technology. She joined Intel Ireland in 1993 and in 1995 she took an assignment at Intel’s Chandler location. She has had various roles in wafer fabrication, technology transfer, human resources and as a manager. She is currently the Program Manager for People Systems in the Internet of Things group. She met her husband, Hal, at Intel and they have one daughter Sali. Leslie is passionate about helping others and has volunteered in STEM activities with an emphasis on young girls in technology, for Chandler Tullamore Sister Cities and at many of Sali’s Rodeo events.  She is also a member of INAZ (Irish Network Arizona). She sings and plays the guitar and loves a good session! Leslie is very honored to be the ICLF President, particularly in this 20th anniversary year, and her goal is to build on the rich legacy of the founders to launch the plan for the next 20 years!

A Note from Leslie Thompson: October 29, 2019

To ICLF members, volunteers, affiliates, staff, community and board,

WOW! We completed work on the front windows and they are beautiful. We also had volunteers come out to help us with clean up. Our Anam Cara committee delivered an amazing event and pending the final financial report it is the most successful in recent years. I was very sorry to miss it but my family is a priority for me. I am honored to work with the Consulate for the International Famine Commemoration. Our Famine committee is meeting weekly working with the Consulate Office (San Francisco) and Government (Dublin) on the remaining details for a great 3-day event. We hope to see you there and it will have something for everyone.

We are hiring for an Operations Director and have some great candidates for consideration. Our Finance Committee meets weekly and the 10K raffle is our next fund-raising opportunity. I was delighted to attend the Rose Send-off event and represent the ICLF at the official ceremony in Tralee. I was also able to get some great insights from Ireland OPW and Aras Eanna during my trip. We completed Volunteer Orientation and shared the results of our Strategic Planning in two community updates. We had a great turn-out at the Irish Heritage Family Night at the Sept 17th Diamondbacks Game with our Desert Shamrock and INAZ partners.

We escalated an issue with the east door to the city – they are not able to support changes so next steps are defined and we will install a RING at our cost. Thank you for all the feedback and I am working with the Board and Staff on our social media profile. I was saddened to learn of the passing of Owen Keating and Bill Bidwell and we extend our condolences to their families. I continue to be at the center on Thursdays and events as I can. I am very grateful for everyone’s continued support.

If you are not already please consider becoming a member online or by mail. We are back to regular opening hours.

Upcoming Events: International Famine Commemoration Nov 1 st -3 rd along with many others including Academy Fall Schedule, Library Lecture Series, Family Story Hour and Irish Celebration of Tea.

Save the dates! Christmas in the Castle on Dec, 14th Winter Solstice on Dec 21st.

More details to come so follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.
Contact me at

If you were unable to attend either of the Community Updates for our Strategic Planning a summary is available by clicking here.