New York Irish Center

By Paul Finnegan, Executive Director, New York Irish Center

On June 14th, at Symphony Space in Manhattan, the New York Irish Center is hosting out 7th Annual Gala fundraiser. The night will be headlined by none other than Brendan Grace and Pat Shortt, two of Ireland’s greatest stars of comedy. This night of Irish comedy and music, is guaranteed to be a highly entertaining evening.

Brendan Grace has been delighting audiences the world over for over 40 years and has rightly earned the reputation as one of the greatest Irish family comedians of our generation. His “Bottler” character is legendary and is now featured at every performance. Ever the genial Dubliner, Brendan has a special bond with Irish audiences the world over, is known as one of the most generous of performers, always giving freely of his time to meet with his fans after each show.

Pat Shortt is the co-creator, with Jon Kenny, of Ireland’s favorite comedy duo ‘D’Unbelievables. As a solo artist, Pat’s first show was a sellout and played for more than 250 dates around Ireland, with his work being hailed as “comic genius” by The Irish Times. Pat is also an actor of great note, with his portrayal of Josie in Garage earning him critical acclaim in the film world.

Our 7th Annual Gala fundraiser represents an exciting new development in our outreach to the Irish community in the New York metropolitan area. We’re taking a detour off the Dinner Dance circuit to shake things up a bit. While many in our community and on our Board of Directors would be most worthy honorees this year, we are directing this year’s appeal towards celebrating the community of people who make the New York Irish Center truly unique.

Many in the Irish community in New York have passed through the doors of our Queens home. Located right outside the first stop on the train from Grand Central, it is a jewel in the crown of our community, right in the heart of a thriving waterfront neighborhood. We have ambitious development plans to serve the community in new and exciting ways through a range of regular and enhanced educational and cultural programs. As we move forward, we need your support to make those plans a reality and help keep the heartfelt spirit of the “Cead Mile Fáilte” alive and kicking in Queens. We are also well underway on a major capital development project with the building of an elevator, currently in mid-stride.

Fortunately, many among us have shown great generosity and an understanding of the importance for the Irish in New York to connect with each other in a real location, thereby keeping the community strong, for themselves and for others.

The Center is first and foremost a gathering place. No less than eight Irish associations hold their monthly meetings at the Center, among them six county associations. Add to that a suite of Irish cultural classes, special programs for seniors and children, and a host of events (concerts, movies, readings, ceilis, music sessions, etc.) and we are truly a focal point for the community to come together to celebrate, support and explore our culture and identity. We see great value in the mixing of generations, and enabling the volunteer spirit among the Irish. Make no mistake – non-profits like the Center are businesses in this day and age, and people have the same expectations of them as they do of their corporate citizens for service and performance. With your help we can live up to these expectations.

If you want the Center to continue to do what it is doing, and to improve further, then we ask you to join with many others in lending your support. Sometimes the sincerest way to do this is to part with a little of your hard-earned pay to keep the Irish in New York in a healthy place. So come along on June 14th, and take an ad out in our playbill for the evening. For more information, visit