History & Related Events

History & Related Archives

The Soul of the Potato • Feb 25

Hernando Torres-Fernandez, Consul General of Peru and Robert O’Driscoll, Consul General of Ireland will present a joint lecture titled: “The Soul of the Potato”.

The multifarious species of potato have been consumed in the Andes for 8,000 years, only brought to Europe by the Spanish in the 16th century. LA PAPA is a cultural icon, a thriving living art in Peru. Hernando Torres-Fernandez will speak of the origin, history, vital research at The International Potato Center in Lima and the future role of the potato in food security for the world.
Robert O’Driscoll will contextualize the special place of the potato in Irish history and as a beloved staple. The spud lives in Ireland within the spirit of the land, as manifest by the people and their literature. We offer particular tribute to poet Seamus Heaney and his quintessential works, such as “Digging” and “Roots”.

Sunday, February 25, 5:00pm at the UICC. more

ILHS St. Patrick’s Banquet • Mar 11

The Literary & History Society’s Saint Patrick’s Banquet this year commemorates the SF Irish Labor Movement, honoring former ILHS Board Chairman Edward Callanan at the UICC. Tickets and information at ilhssf.org or email event chair Maureen Barry

Preservation and Discovery

Irish Lit & Hist Speaker Events 2018

January 28
Program will feature independent scholar Tom Clancy, who will explore the recent history of Ireland in his lecture titled “Go, move, shift: Exploring Irish cultural changes through ten songs“. Clancy will discuss a number of key songs, their singers, writers and contexts from Ireland’s folk and traditional music revival of the 1960s that were instrumental in changing attitudes and public perceptions in that era.

February 25
The ILHS will host both the Irish Consul General Robert O’Driscoll and Peruvian Consul General Hernando Torres-Fernandez for a colorful program on the “Soul of the Potato”. This program will cover the origin of the potato in Peru and many aspects of its history including research conducted at the International Potato Center at Lima, Peru regarding the potato blight of the 1840s. Following the program, the Peruvian Consul will provide potato canapes and Pisco Punch in addition to the Society’s traditional Irish Soda Bread and tea reception offerings.

March 11
ILHS Chair Pat Goggins noted, “We are honored that SF Labor Council Chair Mike Casey will join us. Both he and our former Board Chair Ed Callanan represent the legions of Irish in San Francisco labor who have ensured that families and the community prospered throughout the tremendous growth this region has experienced.”

April 15
The ILHS will collaborate with Chinese Consul General Luo Linquan, who was previously posted in Dublin. He will share his experiences from Ireland and San Francisco where he is soon to complete his posting. This event will be co-sponsored with the Chinese Historical Society of America and the Irish-American Crossroads Festival.

All ILHS events are free to members; a $5 donation for guests. Events at the Irish Cultural Center are easily accessible by MUNI and there is ample parking on Sloat Boulevard. For information on any of these ILHS programs, visit www.ilhssf.org.

Irish Oral History Project • Ongoing


Irish-American Crossroads honors life histories in the Irish Oral History Archive of the San Francisco Bay Area, a project featuring generations of Irish immigrants and children of immigrants to the Bay Area.

About the Archive: Irish-American Crossroads is producing a comprehensive archive of the life stories of the Irish in the San Francisco Bay Area, representative of all generations of heritage. Dedicated to capturing the experience and contributions of men and women who emigrated from Ireland and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, and their Irish-American contemporaries, the archive is an important collection of recordings of life stories and personal histories. Note: The current phase of interviews concentrating on Irish-born immigrants who arrived in the Bay Area up to the 1960s, and Irish Americans whose families emigrated to the Bay Area during earlier times, is wrapping up this year and giving way to the 1980s generation. Stories of those who arrived in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s are now encouraged and welcomed.

Find out more about Irish American Crossroads’ annual festival and the Irish Oral History Archive. If you are interested in participating in this project, please email Hillary Flynn.

Robert Emmet Day Remembrance • Annual Event in September


“Let no man write my epitaph: for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them. Let them and me repose in obscurity and peace, and my tomb remain uninscribed, until other times, and other men, can do justice to my character; when my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written. I have done.”    Excerpt from Robert Emmet’s Speech from the Dock

Each year the United Irish Societies of San Francisco (UIS) lays a wreath at the foot of Robert Emmet’s statue in Golden Gate Park commemorating his struggle for Irish independence and for the civil rights of disenfranchised Irish Catholics. The UIS remembers his heroism with Irish music, dance, and a recitation of his memorable Speech from Dock, which he delivered at his trial on the eve of his execution. The public is invited to attend this moving event.

One of four statues created by Jerome Connor in 1916, the figure of Robert Emmet stands outside the California Academy of Sciences building overlooking the Band Concourse in the Golden Gate Park. Donated to the Park by James D. Phelan, San Francisco mayor and son of Irish immigrants, the statue was unveiled by Eamon De Valera in July of 1919 while he was on a fundraising tour of the United States. Emmet served as an inspiration to the Irish republicans in the years leading up to 1916 uprising.

Robert Emmet Remembrance ~ 1pm @ Band Concourse, Golden Gate Park

Walking the Rising •

Irish-Americans and the 1916 Easter Rising in the Mission District

Learn about Irish-American Crossroads and Elizabeth Creely’s popular Walking the Rising walking tour.

On Sunday, April 24th, 1916, seven Irishmen declared Ireland to be an independent state, free from centuries of British rule. Two Irishmen, Daniel Harnedy and Larry De Lacey brought that struggle to the streets of the Mission district and worked tirelessly to secure Ireland’s freedom from centuries of British rule.

Elizabeth’s walk uncovers the Mission District’s revolutionary past when freedom in Ireland was envisioned in Irish-Americans homes, meeting halls, churches and places of business from Mission street to 24th street. The walking distance is about 2 miles.

Watch this space for future tour dates

Peter O’Driscoll City Guides Tours • Ongoing

tour13_1Corkonian Peter O’Driscoll joined the San Francisco City Guides team several years ago, and conducts Irish Labor History tours of the waterfront as well as leading a tour at Coit Tower where famous murals – some controversial – created by 25 of California’s leading artists of the 1930s reflect scenes of the Great Depression, landscapes, farm workers, industries, a stylish soiree, and vibrant city life. Coit tours are conducted Wednesdays at 11am and future Irish Labor History tour information is available on request via email.

More on City Guides tours.

See past events of historical interest and cultural preservation…. archives