WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A first-of-its-kind Irish Cultural Center is coming to West Springfield.
The current Irish Cultural Center of Western New England is based at Elms College. It serves as a library and museum of Irish heritage, as well as being a social club for Irish Americans. A permanent facility is now in the works.
The sign is already up at their new location at the former Elks Lodge on Morgan Road in West Springfield.
Monday morning, West Springfield Mayor Edward Sullivan and Sean Cahillane of the ICC announced they anticipate the building will be open by St. Patrick’s Day. It is being renovated into a traditional Irish pub and deck, a library, museum, offices, and a performance center, which Sullivan hopes will be a way to bring in revenue to the city.
“No tax dollars will be paid. It’s a private organization, even though they’re a nonprofit by virtue of their educational cultural status, so it will all come from private donations,” Sullivan said.
Cahillaine says that the center provides a cultural link to the heritage of a very large group of local residents.
“I think we’re probably the largest ethnic group in Western New England. Our cultural center has members from Connecticut, from New York, Worcester,” Cahillane said.
He added that they plan on creating a nature trail and ballfield for Gaelic football, rugby, and West Side youth soccer. He also anticipates major Irish performances and visits from the Irish government, which he said is interested in keeping connected with descendants of Ireland, and immigrants here in western Massachusetts.