“I’ve seen it every step of the way,” volunteer Regina Robinson said of the New York Irish Center site. “Nine months ago this building was not really in working order. This time last week there were 10 workmen in here. It’s fabulous.”
Dr. Arthur Weisenseel kicked off the opening with an emotional performance of “Fields of Athenry.”
“It’s very meaningful for me to come here,” said Weisenseel, a cardiologist and former president of the Irish-American Medical Association of New York. “My granny left Ireland aged 12 and never returned.”
Ireland’s minister for education, Mary Hanafin, was guest of honor at the event.
“This is one of the more special events during my stay here,” she said. “It’s the people and the activities that will make this center a real success.”
“This is extreme makeover, Irish style,” said Matt Forde, chairman of the center. “We’re grateful for the work everyone has done and for their energy, which is contagious and will bring us even further.”
With a haon, a d