From the very beginning, the New York Irish Center has seen itself as a permanent fixture on the landscape of the Irish community in New York City. When Fr. Colm Campbell first set forth his vision for a community center for the Irish in the Big Apple, it was his good friend and Cavan native, businessman Paddy Reilly (RIP) who urged him to dream even bigger. He told Colm: "If you just rent a place, it'll be gone when your first lease expires, but if your Center owns the building in which it operates, it will last forever." Paddy's message was not lost on Fr. Colm, and he repeated it to all who would listen. Gradually, and with perseverance, he won over other community leaders until he had assembled enough support for a building purchase in Queens in 2003. There then followed a tremendous wave of volunteer help from the building trades to renovate the property, with its 10,000 square feet and four floors, so that within two short years, by 2005, the New York Irish Center was up and running, providing a home and a welcome, a failte, to all.
And it won't stop there. The Center's Board has committed the resources needed to install a much-needed elevator, a capital project of considerable effort and cost, so that all floors of the building are accessible to the elderly and those with physical challenges.
Looking ahead, the Center is focused on using all of its space, beyond the two excellent lower floors it currently deploys, to fully servicing the community's communal needs.
And included in that scenario is the amazing East River waterfront neighborhood of Long Island City, just one short stop on the #7 subway line from Grand Central Station, where the New York Irish Center is fortunate to have landed. With its thriving business and artistic sectors, and its vibrant nightlife, it has become of the most attractive spots in the city in which to live.
Beyond today, the sky is literally the limit for the New York Irish Center. With one of the best rooftop views of the Manhattan skyline in the region, in the fullness of time there will surely be calls to build further on upward.
The New York Irish Center is in it to stay!