Irish Cultural Center ready to celebrate 10th anniversary

The Irish Cultural Center at Elms College in Chicopee will begin their 10th anniversary celebration with a lecture series in the fall titled "The Ubiquity of Religion in Irish Studies." All lectures will take place in the Alumnae Library Theater, which is handicapped accessible.

We will feature three Irish Studies professors, one in each month. The series is funded by the Irish Consul, Boston. In the spring we will announce several other lectures following the same theme. On Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. Dr. Thomas Moriarty, Elms History Professor Emeritus will address the topic "Pope, Patrick and Monk: How Christianity Took Root in Ireland." On Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. we welcome Peggy O'Brien, English professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, whose topic is "Poets on Pilgrimage: Lough Derg as an icon of Catholicism and Nationalism." On Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. Dr. Damien Murray, Elms history professor will address the topic "Either Ireland is right or Bolshevism is right: The Catholic Church and Irish American Nationalism after World War I."

The Irish Cultural Center opened its doors officially in October 1999 with a lecture "The role of the Irish abroad to preserve Irish culture" by Margaret MacCurtain of the University College of Dublin. Since then we have hosted many speakers on topics as diverse as those addressing the peace process in Northern Ireland to the story of Irish goddesses and the "Little People." We have hosted college professors, as well as poets, journalists and story tellers.

In his talk Tom Moriarty will examine several questions relating to early Ireland. How did Christianity arrive in Ireland? What was the nature of Patrick's mission? What were the distinctive features of the early Irish church? Moriarty taught history at the Elms for 32 years; he received his bachelor's degree from Holy Cross College, Worcester, and both his master's and his doctorate from Notre Dame University.

In addition to the Elms he also taught at Holyoke Community College, Talladega College in Alabama, Fordham University and University of Notre Dame. He has published numerous articles -- the career of Reverend Jeremiah O'Callaghan, Henry Flood's interest in the Irish language and Early Irish Culture, as well as many articles and talks relating to Irish immigration in the area, notably, Holyoke and Chicopee. He has also taught the Irish language for many years at the Elms College as a non-credit course.

It is fitting that Moriarty is part of this celebration because he, along with Sister Kathleen Keating (president of the Elms) and Sean Cahillane founded the Irish Cultural Center and served as its first director. He served on the board of directors for many years.