Hammersmith and Fulham future for Irish culture


The Irish Cultural Centre have successfully raised funds to buy their premises from Hammersmith and Fulham Council.


By Bridget Burgoyne

The Irish Cultural Centre have successfully raised funds to buy their premises from Hammersmith and Fulham Council.

The announcement was made by the chairman at the lunch of Irish Writers’ Month.

The Irish Government gave a grant of £550,000 and the rest was secured in a deal made between the centre and Shepherd’s Bush Housing Association.

Jim O’Hara thanked the Irish Government for their support.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltach for the Irish Government Jimmy Deenihan said: “If we lose this place we will lose an essential part of culture, not just Irish culture, but culture.”

He continued: “Too much effort has gone into this so it must be supported as much as possible.”

When he made his first visit two years ago he described seeing people from different nationalities sharing and enjoying a range of music.

“The programme that goes on here introduces the value of people meeting each other and learning from each other’s cultures.”

General manager Catherina Casey said that the deal brought to a conclusion a challenging but inspiring period in the centre’s history.

She commented on the overwhelming level of goodwill and support given by those who believe in its future.

Planning permission is being sought to redevelop the premises on Blacks Road early next year.

If work goes ahead as planned the centre will occupy the first two floors and the remainder will be made into flats.

Run by both paid staff and volunteers the venue hosts a wide variety of events throughout the day.

These include film and theatre showings, music, story telling, art exhibitions and education.

There are also programmes of activities for both children and elders.

Volunteer, Ned Clack, said: “So much hard work goes into this place.  So many people have a real passion for what goes on here.”

The centre also boasts the David Whiteley Library which is Britain’s only Irish public lending library.

It specializes in both Irish fiction and non-fiction publications which are either about Ireland or by Irish authors.

Felicity Hayes McCoy’s novel The House on an Irish Hillside was launched at the event on Friday.

She said: “This place is vibrant, dynamic it is the heart of something happening. Art and culture centres have to come from the community, they are organically grown and then everything follows. This place is wanted.”

The Irish Cultural Centre management team declared this a new era for the centre which will secure its position as the flagship for Irish Arts and culture in the UK.

The campaign to refurbish the new building is soon to be launched for further information please go to

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