Irish Camp, Trad Fest West, and Music Workshops Launch Summer Activities

June was a bustling month at the center, filled with a wealth of cultural programming events. Our three-week summer camp was a resounding success. We also hosted our first-ever Trad Fest West, a weekend-long celebration of musical entertainment and music workshops, coinciding with the 4th Anniversary of Wawona Gates.

Irish Camp SuccessOur first Irish Summer camp for local kids kicked off in the summer of 2021, and we had no idea how popular it would become. We started with 30 kids, and this year, we welcomed 104 campers over the three-week period. The camp’s success is largely due to our engaging programming, which includes performance theater, music, singing, and dancing. Our wonderful teachers and local artists, coordinated by the talented Camp Director Máire Clerkin and her able assistant Mary Radonovich, are top-notch.

Sports activities, including dodgeball, soccer, hurling, and Gaelic football, as well as trips to the local park, ensure there’s something for everyone. The highlight of the camp is the end-of-session show, where all campers get to participate and showcase their talents. This year’s “Songs of Ireland” show attracted over 350 attendees who enjoyed watching their children and grandchildren perform.

We would like to thank all those who provided financial support for the camp this year: San Francisco Police Officers Association, Bay Area Law Enforcement Emerald Society, United Irish Societies, Rebel Cork Ladies Association, young Men’s Institute, Council #613, In Memory of Brendan O”Rourke, John Finbarr Manning, Java Beach and SF Zoo.

Our Inaugural Trad Fest WestTrad Fest West kicked off last month on Friday, June 21, 2024, with a delightful reception at the Community Art Exhibition. Guests mingled with over 20 featured artists, enjoying a diverse array of styles and content. Maurice O’Reilly from the “Made in Carlow” gallery, who has ties to the Bay Area, enjoyed chatting and reminiscing with guests. Notably, one of Jim Gleeson’s large format prints on display, depicting the Whiz Burger sign on South Van Ness, evoked memories of his past. Maurice was joined by Deimante Stankeviciute, a working artist and Chairperson of the Carlow Fringe Arts Festival. Cork-born San Francisco resident and artist Jerry Daly played a key role in the installation and lighting of the exhibit. The exhibition also showcased works by Dan McGarrah and several pieces from Marie Mallon’s growing collection of Irish artists, with captivating Irish wolfhound paintings drawing significant attention.

The Emerald Pub was alive with traditional sounds from Paddy on the Binge, which included fiddle player Margaret Graham visiting from Davis, CA. During the intermission, guests enjoyed a harp performance by local lever harp extraordinaire Amelia Romano.

Day two of the festival started with a series of intensive music workshops covering various Irish traditional musical instruments. Many thanks to the Jerry Boyle Fund at the Cooley-Keegan Comhaltas for support of the music workshops. Wawona Gates became the hub of activity with music by Eric Owens’ Turf in the Bog, food from the Hungry Leprechaun, and shopping opportunities. Entertainment was provided by the Irish Pipers and the Jackie Flynn Irish Dancers. The evening featured a family Céilí with the Sourdough Céilí Band, with dance instruction from Noreen Heavey and Mary Ann Folan of the Boyle School teaching team.

On Sunday, the festivities continued with more art and music as we celebrated the fourth anniversary of Wawona Gates. The Keepers of the Steps cultural program had a pop-up exhibit and collected donated items for their collection. The Gas Men led the ultimate Seisiún in The Sunset, welcoming even the youngest musicians for a few tunes with the help of their teacher, Dan Cotter. The Irish Pipsphere, making it a memorable event for all.

Jerry DayUICC member Tom Murphy was in contact to remind the Irish Center community that this year’s Jerry Garcia Day is at McClaren Park on Saturday August 3rd hosted by the Friends of Jerry Garcia.

New UIS President Best of luck to Hilda Kissane who was elected the new President of the United Irish Societies (UIS) organization at the June AGM. Hilda, who has served as the UIS recording secretary for many years, replaces Liam Frost who stepped down after a ten year tenure in the post.

Randal Bays ConcertAmerican fiddler Randal Bays will be joined by Kyle Alden on Friday July 19th in the Emerald Pub for an evening of fiery Irish fiddling. Tickets online at

Rock the Gates Festival Season is in full swing, and our 3rd Annual Rock the Gates promises to be our best and biggest yet. We are adding an additional stage to showcase even more music, and we have several other fun details we’ll be revealing soon! See you there! Reminder that the early bird ticket sales end on July 31.

Board TransitionsMany thanks to Suzie Sheedy, Anne Cassidy-Carew and Kathleen McKeon for their service and time working with the UICC Board over the last few years.

Ongoing SupportMany thanks to all the members of the Irish Center community who continue to help and support the organization through volunteering and financial support. Welcome to all our new members who have joined in the past six months and encourage you to reach out to get involved if you would like to volunteer or help us in any way. We are currently seeking support in the area of finance and operations.

Irish NationalsThere are two National championships taking place this month. The Irish Dance nationals in Grapevine, Texas and the Continental Youth Gaelic Athletics championships in Boston, Massachusetts. Best of luck to all the traveling teams and dancers! Bring home the bacon!

Holiday TimeThe next message will come from the Emerald Isle, so I will update you all with the latest news on the ground in Ireland. Until then, travel safely if you are traveling.

Liam Reidy, President


Marin TV Showcase of the Irish Center

In early June Liam Reidy, met up with UICC member Barbara McVeigh at the Community Media Center in San Rafael which houses Marin TV.  Barbara recorded some voiceover material from Liam to use as part of a public service announcement about what is coming up at the Center this summer.