The Irish American Home Society in Glastonbury, Connecticut is seeking funding for critical repairs of its facilities.
Founded in 1944 to unify several Irish American associations in the Connecticut area, the Irish American Home Society, which moved to its current home in Glastonbury in 1967, now boasts some 2,000 members.
"It is our desire to serve all of our members – old and new," the website for the Irish American Home Society reads.
"We believe that the Irish-American Home Society will continue to serve as the focal point for newcomers to our shores to understand and appreciate our American way of life.
"We further believe that this society will afford all of our members the opportunity to continue their appreciation and preservation of the Irish culture."
In order to continue their mission which began more than 75 years ago, the Society is now urgently appealing for funding to repair its facilities in Glastonbury where so many Irish people have found a home away from home.
On the GoFundMe, which as of Wednesday evening has raised more than $43k, the IAHS writes: “Our beloved Irish Home facility, located in Glastonbury, CT. is in dire need of critical repairs to its major infrastructure, including its heating and cooling system, upstairs kitchen and bar, and downstairs kitchen and bar.
"We also must bring the accessibility of our club into the 21st century to ensure all members, current, and future can enjoy our Home for generations to come.
“The pandemic had a significant effect on all of us, including our beloved Irish Home. The lock-downs and safety precautions resulted in significant revenue loss and have inhibited our ability to raise capital in more traditional ways (i.e. dinners, dances, entertainment, etc.)
“However, we will not be defined by these challenges. We have proudly served our community for over 50 years. We have been Central Connecticut’s hub for all things Irish, including music, food, culture, sport, and art.
"Above all, the Irish Home stands out for its hospitality, its people, and commitment to preserving our Irish heritage.
“We are asking for your help to maintain and improve our Irish Home facility, so that its next 50 years are as meaningful and impressive as its first 50 years."
The Society says it welcomes donations of any size and has committed to using any funds raised to ensure the club remains open "to serve you and to serve future generations with the same spirit and vision as the day it was opened.”
In a video accompanying the IAHS appeal, Lil Holleran and John Gorman, both lifetime members of the society, discuss the importance of the Glastonbury facility for the Irish ex-pat community.
"It gave us a sense of belonging, a place to go," Holleran said.
Gorman said: "When our kids were small, we had three boys, we always brought them down here. They're still continuing to this very day, now they're bringing their families."
Holleran added: "It was important to have a place to come down and have the things that I was familiar with Ireland, which were dances, sport, a sense of belonging.
"I didn't have my physical family here, but that became my family."