Promoting Irish-American Culture
and Preserving Local Histories
Through Year-Round Programs

The 2017 Irish-American Crossroads Festival

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Sunday, April 2

Oral Histories of the Irish in San Francisco

Sunday, April 2. 1:00pm-3:00pm Location: United Irish Cultural Center, St. Francis Room, 2700 45th Avenue @ Sloat Blvd., San Francisco Free event.

Join us for this seventh annual event honoring the life histories of participants in the Irish Oral History Archive of the San Francisco Bay Area, a project of Irish-American Crossroads. Bring the whole family to this wonderful afternoon of storytelling!  This year, we will hear from three participants of the Archive, each one with a remarkable story about Irish and Irish-American life in this region:

Frank Aherne was born and raised in Limerick, Ireland, and came to the US in the late 1960s. An engineer, Frank first attended MIT and later – when he and his wife moved to the Bay Area – Stanford Business School. He will talk about his cultural pursuits in the San Francisco Irish community of the 1970s and 1980s, when he hosted an Irish radio show and was involved in Irish theater.

Pamela Cronin was born in County Dublin and lived and attended school in Dun Laoghaire until her father, seeking employment, moved the family to England when she was almost twelve years old.  She is the second child and oldest daughter of eight children. Upon completion of High School Pamela chose to emigrate to California in 1964 for a year but never returned to live in either Ireland or England.  She fell in love with the West Coast and lived in Los Angeles for many years before settling in San Francisco in 1984. Pamela’s mother Sarah was born in County Antrim and as a Northern Irish Catholic she and her siblings experienced religious and educational discrimination throughout their childhood.  In her early teens, Sarah and her sister Lily crossed the border to Dublin and found employment as trainee nursing assistants. Through hard work, creativity and love for each other, they survived and eventually married and raised their families. Pamela’s father died in 1961 and her mother continued raising the family alone and was the matriarch until her death in 2014 at 95 years of age. Pamela felt welcomed and accepted in America and has enjoyed the freedom to explore education and career choices throughout her life in this great country.  She is currently a practicing Psychotherapist and works with families and children. She has worked with children without available parents and feels passionate about assisting them in realizing their potential, believing in themselves, their talents and gifts, and becoming the best they can be for themselves and living their lives to the fullest.

Joanne Harnett was born in Oakland, CA in the 1930s to Irish immigrant parents who operated a dairy farm. Her mother housed arriving immigrants and set up the East Bay’s Emerald Club for ladies. A champion singer and dancer, Joanne traveled to Ireland in her teens, and was a regular at the KRB. She continues her mother’s charitable streak with fundraising efforts for worthy world causes from Haiti to Jamaica.

Kathy Holly, a Native San Franciscan and the Granddaughter of former Mayor, PH McCarthy, will speak about her grandfather.  Mayor McCarthy was a self-made man from Limerick, Ireland who played a very large role in the history of San Francisco Labor and the Building Trades Unions.  He was the only Mayor who ran on a Labor Ticket and was elected in 1909 for one term.  Kathy is a professional Singer, Actress and Musician, a member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 6, the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA.

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