History of LIC 1954: The London Irish Centre is founded by a group from the Irish Priests Committee, who were worried about ill-prepared emigrants arriving in post-World War II London 1955: No. 50 Camden Square, chosen for its proximity to Euston where the train from Holyhead arrived, is purchased for £3,887.1os. No. 51 is bought soon after for £2,700 1955: Fr Tom McNamara (Fr Mac) becomes the first director of the centre. Managed by clergy and supported by volunteers, the centre’s focus was on accommodation and employment for new emigrants 1955: The centre is formally opened by Bishops, and named Blessed Oliver Plunkett House, after the Irish scholar, patriot and martyr. When it opened it housed 10 boys and stated its aim as “to promote the social, recreational and spiritual welfare of Irish people in London” 1956: The London Irish Centre becomes a registered charity 1960s: The Late Late Show is broadcast from the centre 1962: The first paid full-time welfare worker is employed at the centre, for the sum of £800 per year 1963: Aer Lingus flies over Irish food for the centre’s AGM! 1964: Ted Kennedy visits the centre to view plans for the JF Kennedy Memorial Hall, built on the centre’s garage and gardens 1965: The Kennedy Hall is opened in the presence of the US Ambassador, to serve as a space for social occasions. The Douglas Hyde lounge bar is also opened upstairs 1967: Paddy Hackett becomes the first Oblate director of the Centre 1968: Bing Crosby visits the centre to discuss an appearance at a fundraising concert 1969: Leeds football players visit and have a drink at the ballad session in the Douglas Hyde bar. Jack Charlton pays up as an Irish Centre club member 1969: Irish Centre Hostels is set up so that the LIC could have official status as a housing association. It cost £2 per week for bed, breakfast and dinner 1972: Brian Duggan becomes the second Irish Mayor of Camden. Always very connected to the centre, he ran the Missing Persons service at LIC after his political career 1970s: Tommy Maguire teaches his legendary music classes for children at the centre. Over the years Tommy taught hundreds of children traditional Irish music, with the proceeds of his classes going back to the centre 1975: Fr Cagney discusses the development of a new social hall at the centre at the 1975 AGM, saying “the centre will embody all that is best in our culture and tradition and will throb with the pulse of the Irish nation” 1980: The McNamara Hall is opened. The centre had forgotten to apply for a licence for the McNamara, so they had to celebrate the opening in the Kennedy Hall! The first event in the McNamara was a Mayo parish reunion 1981: John Moriarty, of the centre’s Welfare department, appears on The Late Late Show to talk about Irish emigrants in London 1983: Fr Jim Butler does a sponsored 1,000-mile bike ride around Ireland, with Doris Daly collecting in pubs along the way to raise money for the centre, with £169,000 being raised in total 1984: The Pogues shoot the video for Waxie’s Dargle at the centre 1988: The Day Centre at LIC is opened by Bertie Ahern to look after the centre’s older community. It continues to provide hot meals, classes and activities to older Irish people four days a week 1991: The freedom party for the Birmingham Six is celebrated in the Kennedy Hall. The centre had been the venue for campaign meetings, and became the venue for release celebrations 1993: Mary Robinson visits the centre as President of Ireland, and expressed the nation’s gratitude to its emigrants 1994: A huge event is held to celebrate the Peace Process. Gerry Adams spoke, and all bars sold out of everything! 1996: Mo Mowlam visits the Centre as Secretary for Northern Ireland 1999: The Return to Camden Town Festival is first held at the centre, rooted to the centre’s heritage 2008: The London Irish Centre launches a new site and social networks, which grow to build an online community 2008: The Day Centre is refurbished and opened by Micheál Martin, TD 2011: Éire Óg GAA is founded, with the London Irish Centre as their clubhouse 2012: Michael D Higgins visits the centre as President of Ireland, his first international visit in the role 2012: The first London Irish Comedy Festival happens at the London Irish Centre 2012: Taoiseach of Ireland Enda Kenny visits the centre and commends the work that it does for Irish people in London 2012: London Irish Centre publishes Fresh Perspectives, the largest research ever carried out on the Irish community in London 2013: The merger of the London Irish Centre and the Irish Support and Advice Service becomes official, expanding the reach of the centre’s services across West and South West London 2014: The London Irish Centre presents on 60 Years of Supporting the Irish community in London in Leinster House 2014: The London Irish Centre turns 60!