FROM DREAM TO REALITY: An artist's impression of the new Irish Cultural Center in San Francisco's Sunset district

Dream of San Francisco Irish center rebirth moves step closer

Plans for a state-of-the-art new home for the San Francisco Irish have moved a step closer with the decision of city leaders to back the ambitious new build plan.

This Saturday (December 16) city mayor London Breed will joins leaders of The United Irish Cultural Center for a signing ceremony signalling official support for the $74m flagship building.

On Tuesday (December 12), the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of the Project 2025 building plans for a complete redevelopment of the existing Irish Center on 45th Avenue in the city’s Sunset District.

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The ultra-modern new centre will match in architectural swagger and audacious scale the Irish Arts Center in New York.

As the first Irish social center in the United States built entirely by volunteer labor and community contributions, the UICC has continued the work of its predecessors (such as the Knights of the Red Branch) in promoting and preserving Irish culture in the City by the Bay. Since the UICC opened its doors in the early 70s, it has been a welcoming space for Irish visitors and immigrants as well as community groups and a variety of organizations.

 “It has been nearly two years since we submitted our initial documents, and we are proud to announce that we are now on track to bring this dream to life with an actual building, not just a concept," says Liam Reidy, UICC Board President and member of the Building Committee.

"Over the past year, we encountered several challenges, but thanks to the unwavering support of our community, we are moving forward and paving the way for construction."

Six stories above ground with two subterranean levels for parking and an aquatics center, the reimagined Irish Center boasts a spacious lobby that welcomes visitors to experience a host of activities. The heartbeat of the Center will be its extensive library, museum, and digital gallery with educational resources, interactive exhibits, and scholarly research available to everyone. The Center will feature multi-use event space, pubs and fine food offerings, a gym, theater, and office and meeting spaces.

“We want to exemplify the best of both the future and the past,” says Reidy, “sharing our history and traditions and continuing to build relationships with all of the cultures in San Francisco with whom the Irish have been partnering since the 1800s.”

The UICC team paid special tribute to Consul General of Ireland in the Golden Gate City Micheal Smith for championing the new build plan.