Their day has come at the Maine Irish Heritage Center (the former St Dominic's Church, at 34 Gray Street in Portland). It has been closed since May 2006 (when the bell in the church tower fell to the ground, seriously damaging the structure). While originally, MIHC leaders hoped the repairs would take less than a year, it has in fact been more than two, but at last it's ready to go!
Opening the fixed-up building will be some local dignitaries, but most notably, an official from the government of Ireland, Eamon O Cuiv, the minister for community, rural and Gaeltacht affairs. (Gaeltachts are those areas of Ireland where Irish is still spoken on a daily basis, and are the subject of much investment and educational and political effort to preserve the tradition. The Gaeltacht areas are really beautiful places to visit, and the people are very friendly, especially if you an cupla focail - a few words - of Irish.
The festivities begin at 11:45 am on Tuesday, October 21, and include performances from the American Irish Repertory Ensemble theater company and the Killa Ceili Band.
It's a cool building, and was known to host various Irish-related events, including music and dancing. There's also an Irish genealogical center and library in the building, for researchers and browsers alike.
For all of us who enjoy Irish culture, go raibh mile maith agat to all the folks who helped out.