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November 2012


At the Center of Irish Culture


In March 2012, Mary McTigue was named Executive Director of the Irish Cultural Centre located in Canton, Massachusetts. The 46 acre, year round facility was built by volunteers and opened its doors in 1989, and has developed into a year-round headquarters for Irish cultural and educational programs and sporting events in the region. We sat down with Mary recently.

How is the new job going so far?

I am very happy to be part of the Irish Culture Centre. Itís a wonderful place with great programs, terrific people and lots of opportunities. It has an important mission and a promising future. Iím glad to be part of that.

Tell us about your background.

I was born and raised in Holyoke, in Western Massachusetts and came to Boston for college (BC undergrad; BU graduate school) and then stayed in Boston after college. I have a terrific husband Michael and three wonderful children: Hannah, Lauren and Matthew. Blessings all around!

My Irish roots are traced back to all four of my grandparents who left Ireland and settled in Western Mass and the Worcester area. They are from the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry and from County Mayo.

My background is in nonprofit administration. I have worked in and run a variety of organizations over the last 25 years. Most recently, I was Executive Director of the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE) for 10 years. It is a wonderful organization that provides a mix of educational and entertainment opportunities to adults in Boston.

Do you find similarities between BCAE and ICC?

There are many BCAE programs similar to the Irish Cultural Centre and many opportunities that the ICC can explore, while at the same time, staying true to our Irish heritage. Two examples: expanding our language offerings to include immersion programs and travel; and developing a successful authorís series featuring talented Irish writers discussing their works.

Again, I find myself excited about the possibilities of further developing our educational programming in all areas, including culinary, dancing, music, language, arts and literature. Over the coming months, there will be some exciting additions to the ICC lineup that you wonít want to miss, so stay tuned!

How do we keep the Irish community vibrant here in Massachusetts?

We are very fortunate to have a vibrant Irish community throughout Massachusetts. I think that the challenges facing the Centre are the same challenges facing many other Irish organizations: how to re-energize our base of members who are the foundation of the organization and provide for their needs while at the same time attracting a new audience of younger Irish Americans who are interested in learning about and preserving their Irish heritage. I think the ICC has the ability to do both and be a place that welcomes both groups.

The Irish Cultural Centre celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2014. Any plans underway?

We have just begun to think about the 25th anniversary and plan on celebrating this milestone in a big way! The dream of building a home for the Irish in the Boston area became a reality when the ICC was established. That dream and the current mission has grown over the years, but the central vision to establish a place to promote and preserve Irish culture continues to be alive and well. We canít wait for everyone to join us in celebration of 25 years!

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