As I write my final letter for the bulletin, I hummed a little ditty, “Thanks for the Memory” by Bob Hope. While I am moving on from the role of President, I will not be going too far. After an incredibly challenging year for everyone-I am elated that our Center is in great hands with a strong, solid, and dedicated board. I am very confident as I pass on the baton as President that the Center will continue to rise to meet all the challenges that it has faced recently. I am honored to join the list of Presidents that have served the UICC during the last 45 years:

Liam Spiers    Peggy Mc Donald    Mike Moriarty
Pat Brosnan    Maryjane Knoll    Joan McClain
Jack Scannell  Kay Gulbengay  Danny Boyle   Bob Twomey
Tim Murphy    Mary Dunleavy Cassidy    Karen Kinahan
Terry Graham    Brendan Walsh    Joe O’Leary
Frank Leonard    Erris Cafferky    John Gallagher
Mike Cooney    Diarmuid Philpott    Judith Kell
Dan Kerr    David Philpott    Michael Barnacle

I was first introduced to the United Irish Cultural Center board by my Dad, Jerry Cassidy. He and many others have spent years dedicating their free time to the Center to ensure it remains an important bastion for the Irish American community on the west side of the city.

Between 2006-2010, I worked with Karen Kinahan, John Ring, Theresa Flynn-Houghton, Karen McDonald, Margaret McAuliffe and many others. My kids were 3 and 6 years old and watched Dean “at the bar” and were fed Pasquales pizza and pumped up with Shirley Temples. Fast forward to February 2016, and I found myself back on the UICC board again. I have spent 10 out of the last 14 years on the board, and now my daughter is graduating from high school and I have a son in college.

I love the Center and I walk away proud of the good work that we have achieved in the recent past. Too many times past UICC Presidents have exited the role and for various reasons did not stay around to mentor the incoming President or new board members. I don’t want to walk away and never look back – that would make me very sad. It has been an incredible labor of love and I will continue to support the UICC in every way I can.

Our board has done an amazing job in surviving all of the challenges we have faced in the last two years. While the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed many legacy hospitality institutions and event spaces across the city-the Irish Center has survived. That in itself is a phenomenal achievement and we have also recruited more new members from the community than ever before who believe in our mission for the Irish Center.

Through our fundraising efforts spearheaded by Tom McKeon and John Ring, our Wawona Gates effort led by Mark and Molly Burke and Josephine and the hundreds of volunteers, our small ESP grant from the Irish Government and our membership dues, I am happy to say that the Center will end 2020 in a better financial position than when the year began. A big thank you to ALL. It is not too late for you to get in that last minute year end donation. Please check out our website

As a member of the vibrant Irish American community that loves the Center it is up to all of us to support the Center. During December, come out to see our New Outdoor Tent for outdoor dining, we will host our socially distanced Tree Lighting ceremony. Live Irish music returns each Saturday and Sunday throughout the month. Our Christmas Boutique retail extravaganza takes place on December 5th and 12th, featuring lots of local vendors. In addition, Michael Dillon and his Drama School “Bosca Beagaí” in collaboration with the UICC and the Cooley-Keegan Comhaltas branch is sponsoring a truly wonderful virtual Christmas concert called “Christmas Card from San Francisco” with live entertainment from local groups and entertainers across the world. Check our website for details about our St. Stephen’s day (Dec 26th) and New Year’s Eve (Dec 31st) celebrations.

Be a part of the Center as we continue this journey together where we will showcase the history of the Irish in SF, the culture of Ireland past and present and provide a space for the community.And as Bob Hope sang, “Awfully glad I met you. Cheerio and toodle-oo. Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Anne Cassidy Carew, President of the UICC