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    NY Irish Center would be “temple on the hill”

    By Noreen Bowden | August 28, 2008

    The proposed New York Irish Center would contribute to an indigenous Irish-American culture while providing a space for Irish business and social life in the city, says the visionary behind the project, actor Gabriel Byrne.

    Bryne says that the idea for a such a centre came to him as he considered the fact that there was no place in New York “that is actually contributing to the growth of an indigenous Irish American culture”. With the nature of emigration changing, he found himself asking what that meant for the culture.

    “So the question I asked myself was, who are we, and what are we headed towards as a culture? What is representative of us in terms of art, what is our real connection to the island of Ireland where people are getting on with their business? They are not really thinking about what Irish Americans are up to, not really. And Irish Americans are saying, as long as we keep having Conor McPherson, or Martin McDonagh, as long as we keep being represented on Broadway, we’re still culturally in the game.”

    “We started to talk about building a new center that would encourage not just the importation of current Irish culture, and diverse current Irish culture, but would encourage the development of a unique Irish American cultural voice, this while we would have the place to do it which is also a business center, where people from Ireland could come in and do business, where Irish people could get together socially.

    Byrne’s vision has been developed through a consultation process, initiated four years ago after he was asked by then-taoiseach Bertie Ahern to chair an exploratory committee.  He has presented the Irish government with an action plan with a limited timeframe.

    “Of course it’s a sensitive time economically to be asking for money,” he said. “But this is the best time to invest, not just in this notion of an Irish identity and culture, but in the brand of Ireland.

    “It just needs a commitment from the Irish government to support this. The government are behind it, in theory. It just needs that final push to make it happen. You really have to envision it as a temple on the hill. We would have to make a place of welcome, not just for Irish Americans. It would reach out to all cultures, a place of light and welcome.”

    See the entire article at the Irish Echo website.

    Topics: Latest News | 1 Comment »

    One Response to “NY Irish Center would be “temple on the hill””

    1. Gabriel Byrne to be Ireland’s Cultural Ambassador to the US | – about Irish emigration and the diaspora Says:
      March 16th, 2010 at 7:48 pm

      […] spoke of his vision in 2008: “We started to talk about building a new center that would encourage not just the […]