The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

A Book to Mark 50 Years of the Leeds Irish Centre

Catholics of Irish descent in Leeds and throughout the Diocese will know that the UK’s first purpose-built Irish Centre is celebrating its Fiftieth Anniversary this year.  Leeds Irish Centre was due to host a number of celebrations and commemorations in June 2020 to mark its fiftieth year at the heart of the city’s Irish community – but the pandemic and ensuing lockdown has put most of the plans on hold until 2021 – except one…

The Centre has announced details of a forthcoming book to be released in celebration of half a century of community and charity work, sporting and social events – as well as an array of celebrities the Centre has played host to over five decades. The book will be called, 50 Years In The Making – Leeds Irish Centre 1970 – 2020, and will be on sale from late November.

Two versions will be released at the same time: a hardbacked, limited edition retailing at £20 plus postage, and a paperback which is available at £10 per copy, plus postage. Demand for copies is expected to be high and pre-orders are now being taken online or by contacting the Centre direct.

Tommy McLoughlin, manager of the Centre for 45 of its 50 years, said: `The book will be published 50 years and five months since the Centre’s doors officially opened. I am so proud of 50 Years In the Making as it celebrates our successes in all fields and pays tribute to our past as well as looking to the future. We hope everyone enjoys it and that it features on many people’s Christmas lists!’

Liam Thompson, the current Chairman of the Irish Centre’s committee, said: ‘50 Years In The Making marks a milestone in our history so far and it provides a unique opportunity to look behind the doors of one of the best venues in the UK.’

Leeds-born DJ Chris Moyles reveals how his times as a youth spent at the Centre inspired his career, while TV presenter Gabby Logan, a former Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University, humorously recalls teenage romances and how it helped pave her way to success, albeit via  an unusual route!

The book was penned by Yorkshire journalist Sheron Boyle, whose own family left their Irish homes in pursuit of work and who also has strong family links with the Centre. Sheron, who attended Catholic schools in the Diocese, said: `I am a first generation migrant. My dad came to England as a young man and my story is the stories of the Yorkshire Irish diaspora who have gone before us. The book has been a labour of love but even I was surprised by the millions of pounds this one single Centre has raised for charities over the years, most of which has gone to regional organisations. Stories of the world-famous names who have trod the stage were fascinating to hear about but I loved telling the Centre members’ own stories.’

The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, has said he remains `deeply grateful to the Leeds Irish Centre’ for providing a home from home for newly arrived migrants over the decades.

To pre-order your copy of the book, email:

Photos ©Leeds Irish Centre.

50 Years In The Making book cover.

Leeds Irish Centre, the UK’s first purpose-built Irish Centre when its doors opened in 1970.

Tommy McLoughlin, manager of the famed Leeds Irish Centre for 45 of its 50 years in operation.