The Fighting Irishmen > Press > McClelland Library, Phoenix, Arizona

McClelland Library

McClelland Irish Library 1106 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Fighting Irishmen Exhibit February- May 2013



Yelp- January 2013

World Irish 1/21/2013

Arizona Newszap- 1/23/2013

Phoenix New Times 1/31/2013

15 Rounds 2/1/2013

AZ Central 2-12-2013

Arizona Newszap 2/13/2013

East Valley Tribune- 3/10/2013

Irish America Magazine- April/ May 2013

Ring Magazine- May 2013



The McClelland Irish Library, located at the Irish Cultural Center, Phoenix, Arizona.


The Fighting Irishmen exhibit, curated by James J. Houlihan, first opened in 2006 at the Irish Arts Center in New York to great acclaim.  The exhibit explores the contributions of Irish amateur and professional boxers over the last 200 years.  Thereafter it was the feature exhibit in 2007 at the South Street Seaport Museum in lower Manhattan.  In 2008, the exhibit was featured at the John Burns Library at Boston College, and in 2009 the exhibit traveled across the Atlantic and appeared in the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, Ireland as its feature exhibit.  In 2010, the exhibit was on display at Croke Park at the GAA Museum in Dublin, Ireland.  In 2011, the exhibit was at the Sports Arena at the University of Limerick in Ireland.  The Fighting Irishmen exhibit was created specifically for the Irish Arts Center and has been travelling with unprecedented success since 2006.  2012 will see its 7th consecutive year on display.
The exhibit is sure to receive many viewers while it is on display in Phoenix.  The exhibit will open January 31, 2013 at 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, Az., Tuesdays – Saturdays, 10am – 3pm, plus other times to be announced.  There will be a formal opening on January 31, 2013 and the exhibit will remain in Phoenix, AZ until the end of May, 2013.   The reception will feature James Houlihan, local members of the Irish and boxing communities plus a special tribute to boxing legend and Phoenix resident Muhammed Ali, whose great-grandfather hailed from Ennis, Ireland, Phoenix’s sister city.
The exhibition will feature an array of robes, gloves, boxing bags, prints, photographs, painting and film footage of Celtic prize-fighters from 1820 to the present day. Intriguing objects on display will include pieces from sporting greats such as John L. Sullivan, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Barry McGuigan, Freddie Gilroy, Bobby Cassidy, Gerry Cooney, Wayne McCullough, Billy Graham, Billy Conn, Frank Moran, John Duddy, Maureen Shea and many more.  Ballymena-born actor Liam Neeson, Honorary Chair and long-time supporter of the Irish Arts Center, has also loaned personal items from his amateur boxing career to the exhibit including the gloves given to him by Olympic boxer Freddie Gilroy.




The mission of the Irish Cultural Center is to provide a link between the people of Arizona and the people of Ireland and other Celtic cultures. Programs, classes, festivals, exhibitions and special events are offered in history, music, art, dance, literature, drama, crafts, language, travel, sports and traditional activities.  The Irish Cultural Center provides the public with the highest quality educational and cultural programming.  The Center campus includes the Great Hall, cottage, gift shop, famine memorial and now the McClelland Irish Library, which recently opened in October 2012 after more than 5 years of planning.  The three-story building houses a book and periodical collection with several reading rooms, archive, genealogy research centre, classroom, board room, exhibition gallery and an permanent exhibition of the Book of Kells.  The Academy of Irish and Celtic Studies is housed in the lower level of the building.
The Center and Library are owned by the City of Phoenix and operated through public-private partnership with the Irish Cultural and Learning Foundation, Inc., a non-profit corporation.