Dancing for joy as Hammersmith’s Irish Centre reopens to community

Hammersmith’s Irish Cultural Centre has reopened to the community in its newly-refurbished home and will mark the occasion with a St Patrick’s Day celebration.

Music and dance will fill the centre in Blacks Road next month, now that it is back up and running its clubs and events following almost four years out of the building while it was being renovated.

The centre reopened just over two weeks ago, after regaining possession of the building just before Christmas, following financial help from the Irish Government and a partnership with Shepherds Bush Housing Group.

“We’re delighted that the Irish Cultural Centre is back in its home again and offering a place for everyone in the local community to come and enjoy some great Irish hospitality,” said Cllr Sue Fennimore, H&F Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion.

The centre needed to raise more than £640,000 to transform the interior, with funding from the Irish Government and a partnership with Shepherds Bush Housing Group being bolstered by fundraising efforts, including help from Riverdance star, Michael Flatley.

“I would like to say thanks for the support that we received from the Irish Government, which gave us financial support, but also would like to mention Shepherds Bush Housing Group, which enabled us to have this new building and 24 apartments leased to them, built on top,” said Irish Centre board chairperson Jim O’Hara, “They were key to our success.”

“It feels wonderful to be back again. Particularly to be back in the new building, which is light, airy and modern. Everyone has been really complimentary about it. The old one was a bit tired.”

To mark its reopening, the centre was visited last month by Irish Government Minister, Joe McHugh and Irish Ambassador, Dan Mulhall.

Mr O’Hara said despite the reopening, the centre was still looking to raise a further £250,000 to help complete the refit and are hoping the local community will offer its support.

“We’re engaged in the fit-out of the centre. We’re still fundraising, as there’s a lot of work still to be done to get it to the standards we want to have,” he said.

And with St Patrick’s Day celebrations looming on the horizon, the centre is opening its doors to a celebration of music and dance on 17 March with a traditional ‘ceili’, featuring live band Ceili Max, with tickets already selling fast.

The centre is open to everyone of all cultures and nationalities, although H&F’s Irish citizens will probably feel most at home.

To find out more about donating to the centre, contact general manager Collette Macklin on 020 8563 8232, or email gm@irishculturalcentre.co.uk.

For tickets to the St Patrick’s Day ceili, or to find out more about clubs and events at the centre, visit the website.

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