The name of the centre, Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich, recalls the enormous contribution to the revival of the language made by Robert Shipboy McAdam, a Presbyterian businessman from the 19th century and Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich a 20th century Irish scholar.
Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich first opened its doors to accommodate Meánscoil Feirste, a nine pupil Irish-medium secondary school in 1991. The school, now Coláiste Feirste, has since moved to a new at Beechmount and is one of many examples of Irish language projects that have flourished within the Cultúrlann and have developed to create Belfast's Gaeltacht Quarter. Other early resident organisations were newspaper Lá/ Lá Nua, Gaeloiliúint, Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta and Raidió Fáilte.
The centre underwent renovation in 2010 and was re-opened by Irish President Mary McAleese on 19 September 2011, to celebrate 20 years since we opened. The extension and renovation cost £1.9million and included the building of an interactive exhibition space and art gallery, named after local artist Gerard Dillon.
Central to the ethos of this centre has always been a non-political, independent mind-set that values our language and culture as part of the common heritage of all the people. This open, welcoming attitude has given Cultúrlann its reputation as a melting pot of cultures and a hotbed of ideas and innovation.
Today, Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich is proud to cater to all ages and interests in the community through a varied and exciting programme of events.
In 2021 we will be celebrating 30 years since the Cultúrlann first opened its doors. Watch this space for more information on the celebrations to come!