I recently spent 17 days in Ireland. It’s a wonderful small island filled with shades of green and a patchwork of fields sprinkled with sheep. This was my 11th trip and it always feels like home, even though I was born here in San Francisco. As a child, I had the great fortune of going back to Ireland many summers and staying on my grandparents farm. I fall in love with it more, each time I return.

Back in the nineties, there was a band called the Irish Connection. I know what that connection is. I have that Irish Connection – it is a feeling of music that touches your soul and the smell of turf and the taste of the brown bread and the vegetable soup. It’s the shear rocks and the rocky shores of the cliffs of Moher or the lull of the sing song and music that willows in the streets of Lahinch. It may be wind that wheezes through and around the 5000 year old boulders and stones of Carrowmore or Creevykeel in Sligo. If you are charged by politics you might find yourself in the General Post office on O’Connell Street in Dublin where you will be taken back to the place where the poets, teachers and patriots proclaimed and fought for their independence. If you watched any episode of Game of Thrones, the north will entice you with the Dark Hedges, the caves in Cushen and the shoreside in Ballintoy. It might be the soft ice cream and the flake that is must eat. If fascinated by wool, the Aran sweater and how its made, the Foxford Mills, will pacify your curiosity and tickle your fancy with colorful woolen threads and flavorful whiskey flavored marmalades. If you ever owned a piece of Belleek and appreciate the shamrocks and the beauty of the delicate and ceramic cream colored china, a tour of the factory and watching the artists hand paint flowers and shamrocks and weave clay, will leave you riveting. We visited W.B. Yeats country and his gravesite on his birthday and spoke with a robed gentlemen named Malcolm who shared stories of Drumcliffe church, Saint Columba and the celtic cross that has a camel carved into it. We filled a plastic water bottle of holy water from the Knock water fonts. Rocks, apparitions, art, music, the big city of Dublin, and the black taxi tour of Belfast City, no matter where you come from, something in Ireland will connect with you and you will want to return for more. Take pause in Ireland and make the connection – I did when I found a sign, Glor na mara- “the sounds of the ocean”. I heard it and it mesmerized me.

It is the place of the Irish Cultural Center to introduce and make the connection to Ireland for the members and the community. The Irish are known for storytelling and it is up to us to share those stories of family and folklore. Your Center can be the beacon for all things Irish – music, art, theatre, sports, dance, language, geneaology – a place where people gather honoring the legacy of the Irish in San Francisco. It is our story to tell- let’s make sure it gets told.

Please email me with questions or comments at acarew@irish-centersf.org. I look forwaring from you. Please make sure to check our Facebook or website irishscentersf.org for upcoming events. In addition, we have volunteer opportunities and financial assistance needed for your Center. We have a fun filled Fall program with shows that have limited tickets. And remember, as a dues paying member, you receive discounts on tickets – just one benefit to being a dues paying member of the UICC.

Anne Cassidy Carew, President