The Irish Cultural Center's McClelland Library Opens to the Public This Weekend
|Courtesy of the Irish Cultural Center|
The library will also host a variety of Irish-oriented events, such as movie screenings, showcases of traditional art, traveling museum exhibitions, live music, and dance performances, he says.
Classes and workshops will be held throughout each month devoted to music and dance. The upper floors of the library also contain several soundproof practice rooms and studios where various traditional Irish music classes will take place, offering instruction with such instruments as the bagpipes or the pennywhistle.
"Those rooms are completely soundproof, so you could have eight or ten students learning how to play the bagpipes next door to somebody singing," he says.
Meanwhile, the library's first floor will feature a research room where visitors can pore through such historical records as birth certificates, obituaries, and marriage licenses in order to piece together their kin's ancestry. Visitors can also seek the assistance of Daniela Moneta, the Irish Cultural Center's resident genealogy librarian.
McCleland, whose parents came to Arizona in 1912 from Ireland, knows how difficult researching one's roots can be, as he spent more than 20 years trying to dig up his family's past. Its one of the reasons why he wanted to create the library.
"I found it was difficult within just my family to learn where we came from," he says. "I ended up writing the four histories of my grandparents. And those books led me to understand what kind of people were part of my family and I was really impressed with the way they looked at life and their faith and values. So I thought, here's a great opportunity for all Irish folks out here to do the same."
The McClelland Irish Library's Anam Cara grand opening gala takes place at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $100 for Irish Cultural Center members, $150 for non-members. The library will also hold a free celebration and public tours from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, October 3.