Irish cover image

Numerous signs on the streets of San Francisco echo a historic road map of Irish immigrants and naturalized citizens who helped establish the burgeoning infrastructure and politics of our fair city: O’Shaughnessy, Hayes, Broderick, Brannan, Geary and McCoppin. Elected in 1867, Frank McCoppin was the City’s first Irish-born mayor.

Yet the tradition of Irish-American leaders is not a concept quaintly frozen in amber. Joanne Hayes-White, now regional director of Northern California for Senator Dianne Feinstein, served for 28 years as the City’s first female chief of the San Francisco Fire Department. Governor Gavin Newsom traces his heritage back to counties Cork, Sligo and Dublin. Father Mike Healy, a retired pastor and proud Corkman, serves as chaplain to the San Francisco Police Department. Sean Heaney is the Irish music torch-bearer at his Plough and the Stars pub.


Micheál Smith, consul general of Ireland to the Western United States, at the Consulate General of Ireland in San Francisco, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.

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The Irish Pipers Band of San Francisco at a recent Saint Patrick’s Day Parade along Market Street. 


City Hall, shown here in 2019, will again be bathed in green to celebrate Irish heritage this month in San Francisco.


A Studio Banaa rendering of the proposed new building design for the United Irish Cultural Center.


The Irish Pipers Band of San Francisco performs at numerous events in March.

Catherine is the Chief Social & Cultural Correspondent

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