About Aisling Irish Community and Cultural Center
For the past twenty-five years, the Aisling Irish Community and Cultural Center has proudly served as the heart of the New York Irish Community in Woodlawn and Yonkers.
Our story began in the early 1990’s as Tír na Nóg (Land of the Young). At this time, a group of Irish chaplains were sent to the United States to help a growing number of Irish immigrants moving to this area. Sr. Edna McNicholas and Fr. Tom Flynn established Tír na Nóg to carry out this mission in St. Brendan’s Parish in the Bronx.
In 1996, we moved to McLean Avenue, a street known far and wide as a hub of Irish culture. With a leap of faith and very little money, we began renting our current space at 990 McLean. A committee of Irish immigrants under the leadership of Sr. Edna and Fr. Tom raised funds and donated their time, energy and talents to open and run the now-renamed Aisling Irish Community Center (AICC). Fr. Tom and Sr. Edna returned to Ireland in early 2000s, but their important work continues under the guidance of our Board of Directors. The Aisling Center is now run by our executive director, support staff, and a licensed clinical social worker.
Over the years, we have continued to grow and change along with our community. In 1988, we expanded with the help of local tradesmen who created a studio for The Flynn School of Irish Dance. We later doubled in size by renting additional space, and in 2018, we purchased the entire building. This significant step shows our ongoing commitment to serve generations of Irish and Irish-Americans to come. Since purchasing the building, we have renovated the space to build a beautiful new center that will allow us to better serve our community. We look forward to unveiling that this fall!
We pride ourselves on being responsive to both the community’s needs and cultural interests by offering a broad range of programs and classes. Our programs appeal to all age groups, from our toddler music and play groups to our Young at Heart senior group. Youth programs include art classes; Irish language, music, and dance classes; karate classes; and a fun and immersive Celtic Summer Camp experience. Our Young at Heart group enjoys twice-weekly lunches, wheelchair yoga, book clubs, and monthly card games. And, for those in between, we offer yoga, Zumba, our Team Aisling fitness club, and frequent community events. To look after our community as a whole, we offer counseling, a home base for weekly AA meetings, and many mental health and wellness workshops. We are excited to welcome our community into our new center this fall and continue to grow our programs in the future.
This year, we celebrate our 25th anniversary and look forward to serving the community for many years to come.
The Aisling Center remains an important first stop for newly arrived Irish immigrants, who may need help with adjusting to life away from home. As we move into our brand-new and expanded center, we anticipate even more growth in the years to come.
Sandra is a native of County Galway. She has worked in non profit sector with the international humanitarian relief organization Concern Worldwide for several years. She is a volunteer yoga teacher, and has been happily living in New York for over 20 years.
Siobhan McKenna Curnyn
Siobhan is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Siobhan has been working with children, adolescents and adults since 2002 in both school settings and in mental health clinics. Siobhan has started mental health clinics in schools and supervised other social workers. For the past ten years, Siobhan has worked with returning combat veterans and their families. While working with them Siobhan developed a keen interest in wellness.
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Marie is our front of house full-time receptionist/ administrative assistant. She is originally from County Longford and has been living in Yonkers for the past 40 years. She is also a well-known traditional Irish fiddle player.
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Shauna is our Youth Development Officer in charge of Foròige New York. She is a native of Co. Leitrim. Shauna has been working with children and families since 2016, having graduated with an honours degree in Social Care and a Masters in Family Support Services from National University of Ireland Galway.
Serena is our Community Care & Liaison Officer providing community outreach to the myriad populations that the Aisling Center serves in the locale as part of our Social Services team. Originally from Galway, Serena moved to New York in 2015 after graduating with an honors degree in Social Care Practice. Her background is vast, having worked for several years in different capacities with the elderly, young children and people with intellectual disabilities.
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BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Caitriona Clarke – Chairperson
Eibhlin Donlon-Farry – Vice Chairperson
Bill Regan – Treasurer
Frank Brady – Secretary
Sean James – Funding/ Development
Catherine Tully Ryan
We are most grateful to the Irish Government for their support of the work that we do here at the Aisling Center and the services we provide for the Irish and Irish-American community, and the vital financial support we have received from them over the years through the Irish Abroad Unit.
We are also very grateful for the funding we receive from City of Yonkers, Westchester County, New York State Office of Children and Family Services, Tara Circle, The Gloria Gray Foundation, The American Ireland Fund, The Carvel Foundation, The Jim McMahon Charitable Trust, The Society for the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick, AOH Division One Yonkers, Irish Institute, The Community Fund Bronxville Eastchester and Tuckahoe and various other foundations/private donors.
Your generosity ensures continuance of our vital programs and services for people in the Yonkers and Woodlawn communities, and beyond.
HELP US CARRY ON IRISH TRADITION & COMMUNITY
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Community & Cultural Center
The Aisling Irish Community and Culture Center is able to offer decades of community support and preservation of Irish culture because of our amazing network of supporters. See how you can help carry on the tradition by joining our team of sponsors and donors.