The Gaelic American Club, Inc. was founded in 1948 in Bridgeport, CT and was incorporated in 1950. Locations were rented in Bridgeport and Fairfield until this clubhouse was built. Feile, Inc was founded in 1989 as a 501c(3) nonprofit corporation and is the cultural branch of the club. The purpose of the club and Feile is to foster Irish culture among its membership and the community.
Members are either Irish born or of Irish descent. Club activities include concerts, regular meetings of musical, sports, cultural and genealogical groups. The clubhouse has an active pub and restaurant. It has sponsored the Fairfield County Irish Festival since 1988.
Photo: View south showing entrance. (Tod Bryant)
Consistent success of the annual Festival allowed plans to be put into motion to explore the building of a permanent home. After an extensive search and several options, land was purchased on Beach Road in Fairfield. Mark Halstead and Stuart Sachs, architects, designed a building that "expressed itself externally as one wing for social activities and one wing for cultural activities in the familiar setting of an Irish cottage."
Photo: View South showing enameled crests. (Tod Bryant)
Through memorial gifts, bonds, a construction loan from the Bank of Ireland, the revenues from its annual Festival, ground was broken on August 26, 1992 and became a reality when the Gaelic American Cultural Center celebrated its grand opening on May 15, 1993 as home to the Gaelic American Club and FEILE, Incorporated. Year round it is a leading venue for Irish culture and "a second home to go to" for Irish men and women and people of Irish descent. FEILE is continually promoting Irish culture with ever-widening charitable, educational, scholarship and literary pursuits.
"The Gaelic-American Club."
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This is an L-shaped building which has a square, two-story core with one-story end gable wings extending to the north and east. The building is entered through a doorway in the north elevation of the east wing. The north elevation of the north wing has a row of large enameled crests of the Irish provinces of Munster, Leinster, Connaught and Ulster above a row of 32 small crests of Irish counties. There is a stone Celtic Cross memorial to the north of this elevation.
The building is surrounded by an asphalt parking lot behind the buildings lining the street in a mixed commercial and residential area.
Date(s): 1993 Style(s): Vernacular Historic Use: Cultural organization Present Use: Cultural organization
Exterior visible from public road.
Interior accessible (during business hours).
The Irish experience has had a profound impact on Connecticut's past, and its narrative spans all periods of the state's history and touches every one of its eight counties and 169 towns.