2019-2020 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 2019 – 2020 Library Lecture and Exhibition Series: For the cultural season of the 20th anniversary of our organization’s founding, the Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library will be exploring the notion of Irish identity. Join us as we explore how, and whom, identifies as Irish: how Irish identity has changed over time and by location, how being Irish interacts with and can sometimes find conflict in additional ways in which we identify, how Irish identity is expressed, and the notion of Irish identity in an ever globalizing modern world.

Who are the Irish? Sometimes what at first may seem like a simple question becomes far more complicated upon deeper inspection. For many in the US, Irish is an ethic identifier signifying a shared history across a broad spectrum of time. However, the US definition is not necessarily universal.  Who exactly are the Irish can be defined in vastly different ways. Depending on who is defining Irish, the Irish can be: people that come from a specific geographic location, the citizens of a country, a people joined through historical, cultural, and linguistic traditions, and even more recently considered- a people with any number of shared genetic markers.

The Irish in Latin America Exhibit



  • Book Discussion Group 10:30AM – Norton Room
  • The Irish in Latin America Exhibit
  • September 13th Lecture by Yvonne Watterson

September 13th, 2019 at 7PM
“An Identity Crisis: Northern Ireland, Ireland, Britain and Me.”
Lecture by Yvonne Watterson

Born and raised as a Protestant  in Northern Ireland, Phoenix resident, Yvonne Watterson, carries two passports – British and Irish. In this lecture, which occurs 21 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, Yvonne confronts the enigma of her identity as a Northerner who emigrated to the United States in the mid 1980s.
Like so many of her generation, she left in order to escape The Troubles, but over the past three decades has learned that this is no small task. Drawing from her own personal experience and from the perspective of Northern Ireland writers, poets, and musicians, Yvonne explores how she has come to terms with her own identity.

Coming Spring 2020

Speaker: James Silas Rogers
Admission: Free (Donations greatly appreciated)

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.