Architecture and Design

Irish Cultural Center Building Castle-Shaped Research Library

​Current plans for the castle-like project include such design features as plenty of ramparts, parapets, and bulwarks, giving the library the appearance of a medieval-style fortress. (No word on whether or not they're also planning on building a moat.)

The three-story building, which will be finished in January, will feature 15,000 square feet of space for research purposes and a variety of Irish-oriented classes and workshops.

According to Jim Daugherty, president of the Irish Cultural and Learning Foundation (which oversees and administrates the center), the project is being completely funded by private donations, including "major" contributions from Shamrock Foods.

Once completed, the library will then be donated to the City of Phoenix, he explains, like with all the building that comprise the center. 

"All of these buildings and everything here [at the Irish Cultural Center] was built using private donations," Daugherty says. "As each part was done it was donated to the city."

Once completed, the research library will become the second historic-looking building at the center, as the venue already includes an authentic replica of an old-timey Irish farm cottage on the premises. The center, which is owned by the city of Phoenix but is operated by the ICLF, first opened in 2001 and also includes a meeting hall that hosts Irish music and dance events throughout the month.

Patricia Prior, executive director of the ICC, says the research library will not only add a unique-looking structure to downtown, but will also help raise awareness of the center.

"Once it's done, I don't think we'll ever hear questions like 'You means there's an Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix?' any more," she says. "People will definitely see the castle and the center when driving down Central Avenue. And hopefully curiosity will be piqued and they'll want to come in and see us, because this is definitely a little bit of Ireland right here."

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.