The recent cold snap and wintry weather indicates that we are still in winter mode, and we look forward to a return of warmer springlike temperatures. However, blooming daffodils and cherry blossoms are a sure sign that spring is in the air and that St Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. March has historically been the busiest month of the year for our community, and this year’s St Patrick’s season is no different with a jam-packed host of offerings for the community to enjoy—it’s REEL March Madness.
2023 Grand Marshal
A capacity crowd of 400 people attended the United Irish Societies Grand Marshal dinner on Friday, February 24, here at the Center which marked the official kick off of the St Patrick’s season. Galway native Pat Uniacke is this year’s St Patrick’s Day Grand Marshal—a well-deserved honor indeed for a man that has given so much to the Bay Area community over the years. Congratulations to Pat and his wife, Úna, and family. We also congratulate the families of the Honorary Grand Marshals; Nicole Killegrew, Jerry Keohane, Katherine (Katy) O’Shea, Mike Alvers, and Barry McGrath.
Irish Ministerial Visit
Consul General of Ireland Micheál Smith will be busy around the St Patrick’s season as Irish government representative Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science will be hosted here in San Francisco. Minister Harris plans two visits to the Irish Center during his time here. He will attend the Post Parade Party with the community on March 11 and will meet the Irish Center Board on March 12 to discuss the 2025 Project.
Hats off to the St Patrick’s Board subcommittee who have spent the last several weeks preparing for the festivities during March. Pre-planning began in January, led by Events lead, Aileen Dulohery, and a team of board members and volunteers. There is something for everyone who is Irish (or Irish at heart) this month at the Center. The Black Brothers (Michael and Shay), along with Felim Egan and Eamonn Flynn kick off the musical entertainment with a show in the Emerald Pub on Friday, March 3. We have a multitude of local musicians performing on March 11, 12, and 17. I must highlight the music concert featuring County Wexford, Ireland group The Green Road with soprano Clodagh Kinsella on Sunday, March 12 (after Green Fest). Not to be missed. Then we have Runa, a Celtic American roots band performing on March 19—their guitarist is fresh from the red carpet having received a Grammy nomination. Not to mention all the local dance schools and pipe bands that will be sharing their talents throughout the season.
Green Fest Block Party
We host the annual Green Fest block party on March 12 with our partners the United Irish Societies, Java Beach, and Cooley-Keegan Comhaltas. Ivor Collins, the Irish pipers, and Irish dancers are just some of the entertainers lined up for the day. We will have face painting for the kids as well. Enjoy a classic car show on Wawona Street during the festival and wander into Wawona Gates for a respite. Party starts at 11am and runs until 5 pm. Entertainment will continue in the Emerald Pub after.
Be Proud to Be Irish, and Look for Us in the San Francisco St Patrick’s Day Parade
This St Patrick’s season proudly hang an Irish flag from your home or business. This year tell the world you are Irish and show how proud you are of your “Irishness.” Celebrate your Irish heritage by coming out to the parade and “wearing the green” on Saturday, March 11 and on Friday, March 17. Cheer on the UICC parade bus along the route—classic cars, youth music program students, and live music by members the The Green Road touring band from County Wexford.
Leo T Walsh Scholarship
Applications for our annual scholarship program are now open for 8th Graders and High School Seniors entering the next level of their education. Completed applications are due on March 17, delivered to the Irish Center. You can also sponsor a scholarship in your name or in the name of a loved one.
Irish Camp—Youth Summer Program
Drama, sport, art and music will feature again in this year’s summer camp. We will broaden our computer offerings to include website development, digital animation, and computer programming. Registration is now open for early bird pricing. The camp turns from June 12 and June 30. Sign up before March 30th for the Early Bird Special of $300 / week. www.irishcentersf.org/ irish-camp/
Lá Fhéile Bríde
February 1, 2023 marked the inaugural year of a national holiday for St Brigid in Ireland. We celebrated the occasion with a week-long line-up of events and activities highlighted by a St Brigid’s Cross Weaving Workshop on Saturday, February 4. A collaboration between Irish Marvels and the UICC brought together an inter-generational crowd for a delightful afternoon. From reeds and rushes to pipe cleaners and more, nimble fingers of all sizes followed their guides and made their crosses.
Rumble at the Beach
Boxing returns to the Center on March 18, featuring USA and Ireland amateur boxers. Irish boxers from counties Cork, Down, Meath, and Westmeath are traveling to the Bay Area to participate. This is the third boxing card at the center since April 2022. The earlier two sold out; Boxing is popular in the outer Sunset. This event is being held as a partnership with Fire in the Ring Boxing based in Brisbane, and the UICC.
Hibernian of the Year
Congratulations to long time Irish Center member and supporter Roger Gargano who is being honored as the 2023 Hibernian of the Year downtown by the San Francisco Hibernian Newman Club on March 17.
March Charity Feis
We host our second Feis of the year on the weekend of March 25-26 here at the center. Patricia Kennelly and Michael Dillon School of Irish dance are the organizers.
Kids Movie Pizza Night
Our second kids movie night of the year will be held on Friday, March 24 from 7-9pm in the St. Francis room. We look forward to watching The Secret of Roan Inish.
New UICC Members
We continue to add new members to the UICC member roll, many of those joining are first timers. Welcome aboard! The spring is an important time for renewals so check your email for your dues payment request.
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Liam Reidy, President