Our History

The Irish American Club was founded in 1973 in Portland, Maine by a group of Irish-Americans and Irish immigrants. By the 1960s, the residents of historic Irish neighborhoods in Portland had prospered, intermarried with other cultural groups, and resettled in the surrounding suburbs. Parts of several historic neighborhoods were bulldozed for development. At that time, there was very little recognition of Saint Patrick’s Day or Irish culture in the area in general. The Irish American Club reversed this trend by reconnecting the Irish-American community and by organizing the annual Saint Patrick’s Dinner Dance, a throwback to the Irish societal dinners of the nineteenth century. The Club swelled to over a thousand members at its height, and today is successfully turning around the decline that many social clubs have faced over the last fifteen years. In 1998, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maine closed Portland’s first parish church, Saint Dominic’s, built by the Irish immigrant community in 1888. The Irish American Club took a leap of faith and put up a large portion of its assets to save the architectural gem by founding (along with a group of former parishioners) the non-profit Maine Irish Heritage Center to preserve the building as a home for the Club and as a cultural center for Maine.

Board of Directors

Michael Freethy


Parnell Terry

Vice President

[open position]

Recording Secretary

Mary McVeigh


Kathy Reilly

Membership Director

[open position]

Cultural Director

Robert Kearney

Social Director

[open position]

Publications Director

Club Firsts

Joseph Moran

First President

Thomas Jennings

First Membership Chairperson

Bartley Flaherty

First Recruited Member

First Formal Meeting August 29, 1973

First Function October 27, 1973;
a dance at Saint Dominic's Hall.

Past Presidents

1973-1976 Joseph Moran

1976-1978 Edward Ranaghan

1978-1980 Michael Keane

1980-1982 Aileen M. Carroll

1982-1984 Ronald Costigan

1984-1986 John Nixon

1986-1988 Dr. Edward Sullivan

1988-1990 Bart Lally

1990-1992 John Nixon

1992-1996 Bartley Folan

1996-1998 John Nixon

1998-2000 Bartley Folan

2000-2002 John Nixon

2002-2004 Robert J. Kearney

2004-2006 Robert J. O'Brien

2006-2008 Robert J. Kearney

2008-2010 Brendan McVeigh

2010-2012 Brendan McVeigh

2012-2014 Kathy Reilly

2014-2016 Kathy Reilly

2016 -2018 Parnell Terry

2018 - 2021 Parnell Terry

2022 - Michael Freethy