Irish American Heritage Centre

Nestled in a corner on Knox Avenue is a large brick castle called the Irish American Heritage Museum. But although it’s quite stately-looking, inside just reveals an old building that kind of reminds me of some places I’ve been to in Malaysia – old, yet preserved. I was also greeted by some lively music being played by a bagpipe-fiddle duo at the bar, which I thought had a very stereotypical Irish atmosphere. Ha!

But the real reason I went was to check out the monthly social dance gathering in the ballroom, which was quite large (although that could be an illusion brought by the tall ceiling). And stately, with ten chandeliers. And there was another bar at the back of the room, next to some cheap-looking tables. This building is full of paradoxes; it’s as if the building designers were hoping to create an “antique” Irish feel, but instead ended up with more of an “old, garish” feel.

Another paradox I found was the whole “social dance” thing. Although I did get asked to dance, and I really enjoyed the 30-minute Tango lesson given in the beginning, I gradually realised that most of the people there came as couples, so ended up dancing more with their partner than with anyone else. Also, most of the people were at least 3 times my age. Not that that’s a bad thing; a lot of them were pretty good dancers, but sometimes I just want proof that ballroom dancing isn’t a dying art. Or maybe it is a dying art, and I’m in denial. One or the other.

Perhaps I’ll revisit this place to check out their plays in their theatre, or maybe stop by the pub for an Irish American beer or something on St. Patrick’s Day, and kiss an Irish American while I’m at it. Otherwise, I think their interior design needs some serious updating.

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