Connecting the Dots…………

In 2005 Steve Jobs gave the commencement address at Stanford University. During his oration he outlined several stories from his life – one of those stories was entitled “Connecting the Dots.”

The story was a retrospective of his early life, from his fortuitous adoption by a family that never expected the call from the adoption agency when it came, to his truncated college career and his early days developing personal computers at Apple.

The first family that was offered Steve as a newborn passed him up, as they decided at the last minute they really wanted a girl. His parents, who were next on the list, were more than happy to embrace him and make him part of their fledging family.

Jobs goes on to tell the story about his short college tenure at Reed College – an expensive private school in Portland, Oregon. Steve dropped out of the school after six months, as he couldn’t see the value in taking the required classes that didn’t interest him. He felt that it was a waste of his working-class parents’ hard earned money and as he had no idea of what he wanted to do with his life, he felt college was not going to help him figure it out.

He stayed around the campus for the next 18 months, sleeping in friends’ dorm rooms and sitting in on classes that were far more interesting – such as calligraphy, for which the college was well known. He immersed himself in calligraphy and learned what made great typography (the style and appearance of printed matter), great! At the time of his self-directed study, Jobs felt that what he was learning couldn’t possibly have any real practical application for life.

He didn’t know it at the time, but these classes were instrumental and useful to him when he along with Steve Wozniak, developed the first Macintosh computer a decade later. The typography and fonts directly programmed for the early Mac gave the user the opportunity to write and print beautifully. (“Woz” and Jobs also developed laser printing for computers at Apple.) Jobs recalled that if he hadn’t had dropped in on the calligraphy class, the Mac would not have the beautiful fonts and spacing that was the precedent for all computers today.

Jobs told the student audience gathered at the Cardinal Stadium that it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward while he was in college, but that it was very clear looking backwards ten years later as the Mac was being developed.

You cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. Jobs went on to say, “. . . so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future, you have to trust in something, life, karma or whatever – because believing the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.”

How does all this relate and compare to the redevelopment of the new Irish Center? Put simply – it’s impossible to see how all the dots are going to connect for the Irish American community right now, looking into the future, but it will be very clear a few years down the road to see how all the dots connected to deliver a new and beautiful home for us in the Outer Sunset. Won’t you help us connect the dots?

Project 2025 Updates
We continue to hold ongoing weekly meetings with the 2025 building sub-committees and we have Liam Reidy wonderful broad participation from all sections of the community. In conjunction with our design build experts they are now taking on the task of filling all the space within the new building.

Our recent focus has been spent developing expansive spaces for cultural programming, performance art, kids’ and senior programs in our future home.

Much of our recent explorations, discovery work and research revolves around how we envision the role of technology in the museum, library and in the public spaces throughout the building.

Digital museum installations using virtual reality, 3D, and immersive experiences (think the Van Gogh experience currently on display here in San Francisco) are some of the exciting plans and ideas being explored presently by the building group. One recent Zoom meeting was with a company called Local Projects, who designed the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City. Check the company out online at It was fascinating to see all the various bespoke projects the company has developed worldwide, and we look forward to the day when we can digitally display our own story of the “Irish in the West” in the new museum.

It is truly fascinating to think how our own “hidden stories” can be brought to light in such new innovative ways and to remind ourselves and educate others about the role the Irish played in the cultural development of the Western United States.

Around the Center
The St. Patrick’s room was transformed into a German “Bierhaus” on October 16th for the third annual Oktoberfest, with German food, games, dancing, and music by the Internationals. (President’s Message continued) Many thanks to all our event sponsors. The Emerald Society attracted a large turnout for their annual dinner on October 23rd. Well done to John Hallisy and his organizing team. Congratulations to Andrew Clifford (Officer of the Year), Joseph McCloskey (Lifetime Achievement Award), and Josephine Brogan (Citizen of the Year). Wawona Gates closed for the winter season on Saturday, October 30th and we hope to bring it back in the Springtime again. It has been truly a lifesaver for the members during the pandemic, as we hosted many events to entertain our members in what was once our back parking lot.

Save the Date
Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfe Tones return to the Center this month. On Saturday November 13th, the band will play the St. Patrick’s room and on Sunday afternoon November 14th, there is a special, more intimate concert in the Emerald Bar. An Irish Christmas Show (As seen on PBS!) returns to the Center on Saturday, December 4th for a 2pm Matinee Show. Always a great show for families and kids in the run up to Christmas. The Young Dubliners play Saturday, December 4th indoors starting at 7pm. Looking forward to January 2022, the “Keepers of the Steps” Irish Dance Exhibition opens on Thursday January 13th and runs through January 31st. Tickets for all events are available online at

Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends, supporters, and members. Stay safe!

Liam Reidy,