14 Sep 2014
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UPDATED: Irish Social Club Closes Abruptly

"Sudden" decision to close shuts down the once very popular drinking and dancing establishment.

UPDATED: Irish Social Club Closes Abruptly

The of Boston closed abruptly this week after hosting its last event on Sunday night.

The club had been open for 65 years and once attracted folks in droves for live traditional Irish music, drinking, and dancing, but had been considered in decline for some time. Open only on Sunday nights and charging $10 for admission, there simply was not enough money coming in given the overhead costs, said club president Andy Sheehan.

According to Sheehan, the decision was abrupt and as such, customers were not made aware of the closing beforehand.

"It was sudden," he said.

Sheehan added that the plan going forward is to sell the club.

UPDATED: 6:25 p.m.

The Irish Social Club's lawyer, Paul Kilgarriff, told Patch that pressure from the Boston Fire Department and the State of Massachusetts to install a new, expensive fire detection and sprinkler system influenced the club to close.

The club had already been running out of money, Kilgarriff said, and had for the last several months been taking money from savings and that new members simply were not coming in. The cost of a new fire system, he said, would have been too much when the club was already struggling to pay overhead. And, he said, the club was fearful that if it did not close now it may come under a court order to install the system.

Central to the decision, though, was the very low influx of new members, a trend that has been going for "30 years or so," he said.

"The young Irish people are not coming in and the old members are just dying off," he said.

Kilgarriff said the club has not yet discussed exactly where the proceeds from a sale would go, but assured Patch that it would "not be going into anyone's pockets."

5:34 p.m.

West Roxbury resident Kathleen Adams, whose father Noel Daly spent several years as the club's president during its heyday talked about spending Sunday nights throughout her childhood at the club.

Adams heard that the club was closing late last week, not from club officers but by word of mouth. She said she is a bit puzzled -- and was certainly a bit surprised -- about the closing. A member of the club, she said that she wished there would have been some sort of a meeting to get people to help better run the club.

"If we could have had a meeting and said this is what's going on, maybe people would have stepped up," she said.

Irish stepdancing classes, holding events for a younger crowd on other nights, or perhaps by even just opening less frequently could all have helped the club sustain, Adams said. But, she said, Sheehan told her there will be no meeting amongst members to discuss these things and that the decision is final.

Adams said she has heard that the proceeds from the sale of the club, in accordance with its bylaws, would go to charity. 

West Roxbury Patch will have more to come on this story.

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