Dec 6, 2012

Irish Cultural Center at Elms College to host Irish Legacy book launch



Staff report 
CHICOPEE – The Irish Cultural Center at Elms college, here, will host a book launch party on Sunday, Dec. 9 in celebration of the publication of The Irish Legacy: The History of the Irish

in Western Massachusetts by The Republican newspaper.

The book launch will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. in the lower level of the Alumnae Library at Elms College.

The book is the first in the newspaper’s series on various ethnic groups in the Greater Springfield Area. Sister of St. Joseph Judith Kappenman, the center’s director, served as co-editor of the book with Republican lifestyle editor Anne-Gerard Flynn.

A number of the Irish Center’s members contributed articles, including Sister Kappenman and historians Catherine B. Shannon, professor emerita at Westfield State University, and Thomas Moriarty, professor emeritus at Elms, as well as one of the co-founders of the Irish Cultural Center.

The Irish Legacy is a hardcover book that features the story of the Irish immigrants in western Massachusetts – a people who fled famine and oppression, helped build the railroads, labored at the Springfield Armory, fought by the thousands in the Civil War and helped create a nation through public service.

The book launch party will feature refreshments, music and authors of other books, including Sister Kappenman (To Dakota and Back: The Story of an Orphan Train Rider); James Francis Cahillane, of Williamsburg (The Best Place of All, A Winter Offering and On History’s Front Steps); Kevin O’Hara, of Pittsfield (The Last of the Donkey Pilgrims and A Lucky Irish Lad); Joan Morris Reilly, of Springfield (A Hungry Hill Trinity and Other Voices, Other Times: Hungry Hill Remembered); and Wayne Phaneuf, executive editor of The Republican (Springfield: 375 Years and Path of Fury).

ICC polo shirts and women’s T-shirts, along with items from Dingle Linen also will be on sale during the launch party.

The Irish Legacy can be ordered online at

About the Irish Cultural Center

The Irish Cultural Center, which opened in 1999, is a nonprofit organization dedicated “to keeping the Irish arts alive.” To fulfill its mission, the center offers various events throughout the year: Irish language classes, genealogy help, lectures, films, concerts and the annual Christmas with an Irish Touch celebration.

The center has sponsored trips to Ireland, as well as bus trips to Boston, New York, Amherst and Worcester to attend plays and concerts. It also hosts Celtic Adventures for Kids, a weeklong camp with classes in Irish dance, music, arts and crafts, Irish language and literature/storytelling, each July.

The theater is handicapped accessible. For further information about the center or the book launch party, call the Irish Cultural Center at Elms College at 265-2537, or visit the web site at