Irish American Heritage Month Celebrated with Success in California

March 2024 marked a significant achievement for Irish Americans as California joined in honoring Irish American Heritage Month, following a proclamation by President Joe Biden at the White House. This declaration was reinforced within the state by the passing of California Assembly Concurrent Resolution 149 at the state Capitol in Sacramento on March 14th.

State Capitol Visit — The atmosphere at the state capitol was charged with pride as supporters of the measure, including Consul General Micheál Smith, Vice-Consul Jennifer Chadwick and visiting Irish Senator Jerry Buttimer, UICC board members Leo Cassidy and Redmond Lyons, gathered to witness the resolution’s journey through both the California State Senate and Assembly. With resounding bipartisan support, the resolution was met with enthusiasm and approval from lawmakers in both chambers.

Assembly Members James Gallagher, Lisa Calderon, Damon Connolly, Heath Flora, and Matt Haney introduced the resolution in the Assembly, while Senate Bill was championed by Mike McGuire, the Pro Tempore leader of the California State Senate.

Century of Relations — The resolution, jointly passed by both houses, commemorates the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Ireland. It also highlighted the significant contributions of Irish Americans to the country and the state of California, emphasizing the importance of celebrating Irish American Heritage Month throughout March, with particular emphasis on St. Patrick’s Day.

In a statement, the legislature declared, “Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day,” underscoring the inclusive spirit of the celebration. The resolution further directed the Chief Clerk of the Assembly to transmit copies to key figures including Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States, Geraldine Byrne Nason, and other dignitaries.

Reflecting on being present for the historic occasion, you could feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment resonating among attendees. I thought to myself “Wow!” Here we are in the political halls of power in the fifth largest economy in the world, taking center stage, which encapsulated the significance of the moment for me.

Concurrent Resolution 149 The successful passage of California Assembly Concurrent Resolution 149 not only recognizes the vibrant heritage of Irish Americans but also underscores the state’s commitment to honoring and celebrating cultural diversity. As Irish American Heritage Month concludes, its impact on fostering unity and appreciation for diverse cultural contributions remains palpable across California.

Irish American Success Story — While walking the halls of the state capitol building, I couldn’t help but marvel at the prominence of Irish Americans on this stage. Their journey, rooted in the waves of immigrants who sought refuge from famine, pursued economic opportunities, and escaped political upheaval, has woven a tapestry of pride in their Irish ancestry. John Downey was the first foreign born Irish governor of California (1860-1862) and more recent Irish American governors with Emerald Isle heritage include Edmund Brown (1959-1967) and his son Gerry Brown (2011-2019) and current Governor Gavin Newsom (2019-2024). Through the annals of history, Irish Americans have wielded significant influence, shaping the very essence of American society across realms of culture, politics, business, and beyond. This narrative persists to this day.

Preservation of Irish Culture — At the heart of this pride lies a steadfast commitment to preserving and celebrating Irish traditions. From the toe tapping beats of traditional music to the spirited movements of dance (there was Irish dancing through the halls of the State Assembly on March 14th!), from the lyrical beauty of language to the savory delights of cuisine, Irish American communities across the nation unite during Irish American Heritage Month. Through vibrant festivals, spirited parades, enlightening cultural events, and educational endeavors, we all pay homage to our heritage. These gatherings stand as poignant reminders of the enduring spirit and resilience that define the Irish people, both in their homeland and scattered throughout the world.

St. Patrick’s Season — With just two days to celebrate the St. Patrick’s season on site at the Irish Center  this year, we had record attendances both on March 16th after the parade and again for St. Patrick’s. Day which coincided with the GreenFest block party. We sold out of corn beef dinners on March 17th. It was delicious based on the number of positive reports from happy UICC members. A special thanks to all the musicians and Irish dancers who did so well entertaining the crowds.

Spring Membership Drive — Our spring membership drive is now on, and we welcome you to continue supporting us here at the Center. Contact Maggie 650-892-4050

Summer Camp — Our Summer camp has already over 75 participants signed up for the annual camp which starts on June 10. Registration is open throughout the spring until the camp is fully enrolled. The camp is ideal for kids aged 6 years and up.

Leo T Walsh Scholarship — Many thanks to all those donors and supporters who have once again contributed to the annual scholarship awards. The deadline for applying is now passed and the judges are busy reviewing the entrants. The award ceremony will take place in May. Good luck to all the eight graders and high school seniors who applied for a scholarship.

Céilí on the Lake — On April 27th and 28th, there is an Irish Dance and music Festival at the Beautiful Lagoon Park, Marin County Fairgrounds. The Irish Center will be represented at the event with an Information Booth, while many of our members will be playing music and step dancing at the festival. More details at

Thank you to the Staff & Volunteers — A big thank you to our event staff Aileen, Wheatley and Heidi, the team of part time workers and volunteers for the trojan work undertaken all through the month of March.

Go raibh maith agaibh go léir!

Liam Reidy, President