The West's Only Irish Library To Land in Phoenix

The Irish Cultural Center of Phoenix has announced plans to expand its operations into a 11,000-square-foot Irish Cultural Center Library that will be the first of its kind in the Southwest.

The spot at 1106 North Central Avenue will feature more than 6,000 books, a performance space, and a slick genealogical research institution. It's scheduled to be finished in January 2012.

So if you've always believed that you might be related to Saint Patrick (who wasn't even born in Ireland, by the way), especially while trashed on green beer at some excuse for a bar every March 17, this will be the place for you to find out.

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The building-in-the-making was funded by private donations while the City of Phoenix provided the land. The non-profit Irish Cultural and Learning Foundation will run the library.

"The West was developed by a large number of Irishman and Arizona had a good share of them," says Bill O'Brien, co-chairman of the Irish Cultural and Learning Foundation Library. He estimates that there are roughly 500,000 people of Irish descent in Arizona.

A ceremonial signing of the building agreement takes place at 9 a.m. Saturday, January 22, while a groundbreaking shindig is scheduled for February 13 at 2 p.m. See www.azirish.org.

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