2018-2019 Library Lecture Series

Norman McClelland and Irish President Michael D. Higgins

Each year, the Irish Cultural Center & McClelland Library are proud to host a series of visiting lecturers on various topics related to Irish literature, culture, and history. By bringing in experts in various fields, we hope to cultivate new interest and excitement about the many aspects of scholarship that make up the realm of Irish Studies. In addition to the traditional definition of Irish Studies, the McClelland Library expands the scope of its lecture series to include the personal connections to history discovered through family history research and genealogy. The lecture series is intended for audiences of all experience levels. Please join us each year to learn more about the various areas and experts that continue to teach us so much about Ireland.

The 2018-2019 Lecture and Exhibition Series is dedicated to the history and culture of the Irish in Latin America. Two internationally renowned guest speakers will be presenting lectures focused on the immigration experience of the Irish diaspora in the Americas.

The Irish in Latin America Exhibit



  • Book Discussion Group 10:30AM – Norton Room
  • The Irish in Latin America Exhibit
  • March 23rd Lecture by Marie Léoutre

March 23, 2019 at 7PM
“Hugo O’Conor” Lecture

Join us at 7pm on March 23rd for a special lecture by Dr. Marie Léoutre on Hugo O’Conor, Irishman and founder of the Tucson Presidio.  This lecture, In collaboration with the Arizona Historical Society, will cover a unique point in time when Irish and Arizonan history intersected to create a lasting effect on the state we all live in today. Dr. Léoutre will uncover Hugo O’Conor’s background and family in 18th century Ireland, the reasons for his departure to serve in the Spanish army, his migration to America and the founding of the presidio of Tucson in 1775.  
Doors will open at 6pm and visitors will be able to view the current McClelland Library exhibit “The Irish in Latin America” free of charge.
The lecture has no admission cost, but donations a greatly appreciated.
The Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library are hosting a Food Drive for St. Mary’ Food Bank.  Learn more about how you can help feed Arizona when you attend your next event.

January 19, 2019 Lecture

Speaker: James Silas Rogers
Friday, January 19th, 2019 at 7pm in the Great Hall
Admission: Free (Donations greatly appreciated)

Please join us Jan 19 at 7:00 pm as we host Jim Rogers, a major figure in Irish Studies and literature for an unforgettable evening. Rogers will talk about his recent book Irish-American Autobiography: The Divided Hearts of Athletes, Priests, Pilgrims, and More. His book is an engaging attempt to define the immigration experience and make sense of what it means for those who have a foot in both the old home country and America. Rogers brings a depth of knowledge and insight into his meticulously researched study of the extent to which this ethnic group assimilated into mainstream America. Two overlapping questions permeate his work: What does it mean to be Irish in America; and can Irish ethnic identity persist under the pressures of assimilation and the forces of homogenization?

Rogers will reflect on the notion that immigrants often feel there should be something distinctive about their identity, “but they don’t necessarily know what it is, nor are they necessarily happy when they find out.” A big part of this identity is “that sense of duality, of having a foot in both worlds, of having a foot in both the home country and in America”. Rogers has varied interests in Irish cultural, history, literature and family history and genealogy and his lectures appeal to a broad audience.

James Silas Rogers is editor of New Hibernia Review and the director of the Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas. He was president of the American Conference for Irish Studies from 2009 to 2011. Rogers’s publications focus on Irish-American literature, chiefly memoir. His Irish books are Irish-American Autobiography: The Divided Hearts of Athletes, Priests, Pilgrims, and More (Catholic University of America Press, 2017); Extended Family: Essays on Being Irish American from New Hibernia Review (Dufour Editions, 2013), which he edited and introduced; and After the Flood: Irish America, 1945-1960 (Irish Academic Press, 2009), which he co-edited with Matthew J. O’Brien.


Lecture: November 30th

Speaker: Tim Fanning
Friday November 30th, 2018 at 7pm in the Great Hall
Admission: Free (Donations greatly appreciated)

A special Grand Opening of the exhibit will be held for the public on Friday, November 30th, and will be preceded by a lecture from Ireland’s own Tim Fanning, author of the book “Paisanos: The Forgotten Irish Who Changed the Face of Latin America.”  The lecture and book compliment each other as they both explore the history of the Irish in Latin America. The lecture and exhibit will be free to the public on the night of November 30th, however donations will gladly be accepted.