History & Related Events

History & Related Archives

A Place for All Things Irish, Exhibit • Opens Aug. 16

A Place for All Things Irish, a series of posters which tells the story of the San Francisco Irish societies at the turn of the 20th Century and their dream of building an Irish Hall, will be exhibited at the United Irish Cultural Center from August 16 through December 31, 2018. The many Irish societies of that period met at a variety of places throughout the City – probably the most notable locations being the Hibernian Hall at 454 Valencia and the KRB (Knights of the Red Branch) Hall at 1133 Mission. None of these locations were large enough to accommodate the growing Irish population which comprised one third of the population of San Francisco. A new place was needed inspiring the societies to build such a hall. Through excerpts from major San Francisco historical newspapers and the original program from the Irish Fair of 1898, you will learn about their efforts which started in 1896 with the formation of the Celtic Union. more

The Irish Influence in SF – Walking Tour • Every Saturday

The Irish Influence in San Francisco Walking Tour tells the story of the Irish who helped shape the city since the 1840s, from city planners and industrialist, to entertainers and public servants. Tour guide is Irish born Donagh McKeown. It’s a two-and-a-half hour tour that begins at 11am at 501 Market St, SF. $20 per adult $10 per senior. more info at www.irishvoices.us

Eugene O’Neill Festival, Danville • Throughout September

In a partnership “One Festival, Two Countries,” the Eugene O’Neill Foundation, Tao House, and the O’Neill Ancestral Trust presents the 19th Annual Eugene O’Neill Festival in Danville throughout September and the inaugural Eugene O’Neill International Festival of Theatre in New Ross, Ireland, October 11–14.

“One Festival, Two Countries” embodies a civic as well as a cultural partnership. Danville and New Ross have become Friendship Cities, and official delegations from the two cities will attend one another’s O’Neill festivals. The Danville festival is sponsored by the Irish Consulate in San Francisco. more

Preservation and Discovery

Robert Emmet Day Remembrance • September 15th/16th


“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

Join the United Irish Societies of San Francisco on the weekend of September 15-16, 2018 in honoring the Irish Patriot, Robert Emmet.

September 15, 4:30 pm, UICC
Ruan O’Donnell, noted Irish historian and author of Robert Emmet and the Rising of 1803, will share with us his unique insights on Robert Emmet at his presentation at the UICC. He will be joined by local musicians, Vince Keehan, Cormac Gannon, and Kenny Somerville.

September 16, 12.15pm, Band Concourse, Golden Gate Park
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.

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.

“Robert Emmet is arguably the most popular and least understood Irish patriot of his generation. Far more significant within the leadership of the revolutionary United Irishmen than generally acknowledged, Emmet’s heroic legacy extended to the USA where he has been memorialized to an extent unmatched in his native country.” —Ruan O’Donnell


Irish Lit & Hist April Speaker Events 2018/2019

The Irish Literary & Historical Society hosts monthly speaker events the last Sunday of each month – September through April – featuring the best in literary and historical speakers and presentations. Events are held at the Irish Cultural Center. For information on upcoming program, 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.


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.

Bay Area History – Did You Know?

Learn about Filoli’s Irish Connection

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