Thursday, May 5, 2016

Maine Irish Heritage Center

The Maine Irish Heritage Center (MIHC) was founded in 1997 when the City of Portland generously donated St. Dominic's Roman Catholic Church to the Irish American Club and Friends of St. Patrick. Today, the mission statement of the organization is threefold:[1]
  • preserve and restore the historic landmark that was formerly St. Dominic’s Church, a hub of early Irish Community in Maine
  • provide a center for Maine’s diverse communities to share their cultural experience through education, programs and community events
  • house Maine’s Irish Genealogical Center, Museum, Archives and Library, preserving the story of Irish history in Maine

This last point encompasses a number of facilities within the MIHC that have seen it become one of the best places to go for Irish genealogy in the New England area. Volunteer genealogists are available to help you get started to assist in trying to break through those brick walls. Members get a complimentary consultation with a genealogist and there is a very affordable member and non-member fee schedule for further research. Genealogy workshops are also held throughout the year.

The MIHC library contains over 2,000 volumes, including city directories, yearbooks, obituaries, and St. Dominic’s school registers, along with access to online genealogy resources. There is an online library catalog to get started with their holdings. The MIHC archive contains some fascinating collections, including oral histories with Irish immigrants and Irish Americans in Maine.

You can visit the MIHC in person at the corner of Gray and State Street, Portland, ME 04112-7588 or online at their website. This organization is an absolute must to visit or interact with if you have Irish ancestry in Maine.

[1] Maine Irish Heritage Center. Mission. 2013. Available online at accessed 30 April 2016.