Speaker Series: Our Next Speaker is:

Sunday, January 24th, 2016, UICC at 5pm -Tony Bucher will speak about “Old Saint Mary’s – San Francisco’s Irish Monument”
The deep and varied story of the Irish in San Francisco is intrinsic to the history, character, and physical structure of the City, yet the Irish barely register in popular conceptions of San Francisco's general history. In this sense the story of Irish San Francisco is a hidden story, kept alive in the memory of succeeding generations, and represented in a few very visible monuments with deep historical and personal resonance.

One such monument is Old Saint Mary's Cathedral in Chinatown. The structure was the largest building in the City when it was completed in 1854 in the raucous Barbary Coast era, at the very beginnings of American San Francisco. Standing at the head of the first block of the steep rise of California Street on Nob Hill, it rests prominently positioned above the forest of buildings that steadily grew into an orderly and sober downtown in succeeding years.Old Saint Mary’s served as a key seat of institutional power in the early development of the City and the greater West, and as an important focus of community for a significant portion of the population for generations.

Beyond the story of the church itself and its features and biographical details, Old Saint Mary’s has broader significance as a metaphor for a history nearly unknown in the City the Irish helped build, with the remains of Kathleen Sullivan, the Irish benefactor, interred in the basement of her Irish church, hidden in plain sight.

Sunday March 13, 2016 - Annual Banquet -  Guest Speaker Professor Bob Tracy will talk about The Proclamation of the Irish Republic as both a work of literature written by poets, and a political document modeled on the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and emphasizing civil rights, women suffrage, and of course independence from foreign rule. Included in the evening will be a dramatic reading of The Proclamation and a special musical guest. 

UICC Directions

Myles Dungan in conversation with Colm Toibin at the Mechanics Library - Oct. 2014

Membership - Join or Renew. Dues are $25 for individuals and $30 for dual. Please consider making a tax deductible donation when renewing your membership. Your support is needed and much appreciated.  Membership Form 

Other Local Irish Cultural Events: 

If you would like to be added to our email list contact Leslie Murdock at lfmurdock@yahoo.com. 

E-Book - Our publication The Irish of the San Francisco Bay Area - Essays on Good Fortune is now available as an E-Book. Click here to preview and download

The Irish Literary & Historical Society (ILHS) of the San Francisco Bay Area provides an open, nonsectarian, and nonpolitical forum for the presentation and discussion of Irish and Irish-American culture. The ILHS hosts a speaker series at which invited speakers explore Irish arts, literature, history, society, and culture. In March, the Society hosts its annual St. Patrick’s Banquet, featuring a guest speaker and an evening of Irish music, song, and poetry.More

ILHS website photo gallery