Irish Arts Take Center Stage This Fall

Building upon the robust slate of Irish cultural programming and community-wide activities during the first part of the year, we have plenty more in store this fall here at the Center. The lineup and variety of events suggest that we are returning to a more normal season of activities as we look ahead to the remainder of 2022.

While the three week summer camp held during June ended with a resoundingly successful concert entitled “Muirsheen Durkin: The Golden Years” on July 1 – we also hosted amateur boxing and pro-wrestling which were driven primarily by partnerships with local community groups that find it difficult to find spaces to run their events. These community partnerships have been well received not only by our members but also by a broader section of the Bay Area community that did not even know the Irish Center existed prior to the events.

Rock the Gates Summer Fleadh — Our inaugural “Rock the Gates” music and Irish dance festival tops the bill this August as the event not to be missed. On Saturday August 27 we will host music, song and Irish dance across three festival stages: Wawona Gates, the Emerald and St. Patrick’s room. The festival kicks off at 1pm and runs until 8pm. Highlights include performances by the Irish pipers, LA.vation (U2 tribute band), the Hooks, A License to Chill (Jimmy Buffet tribute band), Karl McHugh, Mangobus, and other local Irish music groups and Irish dance schools. We will also have kids’ activities such as a bouncy castle and face painting. Truly a family affair!

To close out the blockbuster day on August 27, the tribute musical “Tommy and the Brothers” will retell the folk music history of Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers. Fresh from taking gold at the recent Hollywood Fringe, this live music event is the brainchild of LA based Thom McNamara and Ken O’Malley and promises to be one of the highlights of the summer. Tickets for all events are at

Comedy Night with Ardal O’Hanlon — On Saturday, September 10, we welcome the star of Father Ted (C4) and Death In Paradise (BBC) and guest in the last two series of Derry Girls (C4), Ardal O’Hanlon, one of the world’s best-loved stand up comedians. The event starts at 8pm.

Murphy School Feis — We welcome 250 Irish step dancers participating in the Murphy Irish Dance School Feis on Saturday Sept 24 and Sunday 25. Dancers must register in advance and spectators are most welcome.

The Byrne Brothers — The Byrne Brothers return to the Irish Center for a mid-week concert on September 28 before heading to Los Angeles the following weekend to pick up the Young Artist Academy Award for Music Ensemble 2022.

Hinterland West — The US edition of one of Ireand’s most popular literary festivals will host several prominent Irish commentators at the Irish Center between September 30 and October 2. This year’s lineup of writers and scholars includes Fintan O’Toole, Liz Nugent, Róisín Ingle, Catriona Crowe, Myles Duggan and Noah Griffin. Hinterland West is a San Francisco-based collaboration with the Hinterland Festival in Kells, County Meath, Ireland. Full line-up of events at www.

Board Member Transitions — This fall we will see several UICC Board members vacating their roles within the organization after serving as many as four years. Many of these positions were initially two year terms but many members stayed on to help out the Center during the upheaval and uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. These were extraordinary times and required an even greater effort by the volunteer board members to steady the ship. We have slowly hired back staff during the past year to alleviate the workload on the volunteer board members. We expect to continue a more supervisory role as board members going forward and begin to focus on oversight, guidance, and continue with developing and funding the 2025 project.

While all the exiting board members will be sorely missed, we plan to recruit and fill most vacant positions and consolidate the board, with board elections planned for October. Interested in getting involved? We have needs in many areas, especially in finance, marketing and video editing. If interested in a role going forward, reach out to me via email.

District 4 Info Evening — This November, the local San Francisco Board of Supervisors District 4 seat will be contested by three candidates: incumbent Supervisor Gordon Mar, Joel Engardio, and Leanna Louie. To give the community and Irish Center members the chance to hear these candidates in person, there is an informational meeting on Thursday, September 28 between 7-9pm. The Irish Center lies at the heart of District 4.

SF Fire Blood Drive — On Tuesday, August 23, San Francisco Fire Fighters Local 798 are holding a community-wide blood drive in the St. Patrick’s Room from 9am to 2pm.

All-Ireland Champions — Well done to Limerick hurlers and Kerry Gaelic footballers who won the All-Ireland inter-county championship finals last month in Ireland. There was great interest in the finals this year as there were no restrictions on attendance, with more than 82,000 people attending each final, and countless others watching from home including those here at the Irish Center.

I was fortunate to be on vacation to see my home county of Limerick defeat Kilkenny in the hurling final after a titanic struggle with the result in the balance right up to the final whistle. It was Limerick’s fourth success in five seasons. Rarified air for sure for Limerick supporters, but there is no doubt that all GAA followers would agree that this is a once-in-a-generation team with household names sprinkled all over the field. Worthy Liam McCarthy cup recipients – well done, Limerick! Congratulations to Kerry on securing the Sam McGuire cup after a tense battle with Galway on Sunday July 24. Four unanswered points late in the game by the Kingdom saw them bridge an eight year gap since their last title and saw them collect their 38th All-Ireland title in total.

Labor Day Weekend — Enjoy the last break of summer which signals the end of summer holidays.

Liam Reidy