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: January 18th,  2020

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

It was a fantastic 2019! Thank you to all the staff, board and volunteers for all the work they did. Thank you to the Community for coming out to support the ICLF. Highlights include our best Anam Cara event in recent years, an amazing International Famine Event and beautiful window decals installed on Central Ave. We saw increased participation in the library offerings and all of our annual events were well attended. We ended the year at ~380 members. Our recent events had great turn-out including the Christmas at the Castle, Winter Solstice and Annual Tea.

We have hired an Operations Director, Gary O’Neill, and his first day will be Tuesday January 21st – please welcome him to Arizona and our ICLF Community. We are still trying to fill the Executive Admin position. Until then we are supplementing with staff and volunteers and will re-evaluate status on Jan 31st. We are seeking volunteers for the Visitor Center and Docents.

We are adding some new events to the schedule for 2020 and our Events Committee meets weekly on Thursday at 6pm in the Norton Room.

Our 3 priorities for 2020 are establish an (1) ICLF Endowment (2) Immigration Support Program (3) Retail Space.

I was saddened to learn of the passing of many Irish greats including Arty McGlynn, Niall Tobin, Danny Doyle, Gay Byrne, Marion Finucane, Brendan Grace and Larry Gogan. 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 open after the holidays.

Upcoming Events: ICLF Women’s Conference Feb 1st, First Friday session Feb 7th, Currach Events Feb 14th & 15th, Immigration Support Launch Feb 29th, Tartanic March 7th, A Proper Pint on Mar 8th along with many others including Academy Spring Schedule, Library Lecture Series, Family Story Hour and Irish Celebration of Tea.

Save the dates! Raised on Songs and Stories April 24th, Irish Comedy May 2nd.
More details to come so follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.

Contact me at

Be respectful of the past, realistic about the present and optimistic about the future

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