The Maine Irish Heritage Center (MIHC) is proud to announce that we have been designated to receive $3 million dollars in the federal FY2023 annual spending bill to support the restoration of our historic architectural gem, the former St. Dominic’s church.

Maine Irish Heritage Center, located in the former St. Dominic’s Church. Built by Irish immigrants in 1892.

With the support of Congresswoman Pingree and Senators Collins and King, the funds were awarded to help carry out a plan to restore the building envelope fully. The MIHC deeply appreciates the Maine Congressional delegation’s support for this critical restoration that will make it possible to seal the building from the weather, preventing further deterioration of the exterior and protecting restoration of the interior.  

St. Dominic’s Church, built in 1892 by Irish immigrants to Maine, served as the hub of Portland’s Irish community for generations. After St. Dominic’s was deconsecrated in 1997, the building went into the hands of the Maine Irish Heritage Center, which has fought passionately for its preservation ever since. An iconic piece of Portland’s skyline, this building is a testament to the will and determination of Irish immigrants who settled in Maine and across the diaspora.  

“The historic building is instantly identifiable as a key feature of Portland’s skyline, and for well over a century, it has been a beacon welcoming immigrants and inviting diverse communities to share their cultural experiences. We are most thankful for the support of Senators Collins and King and Congresswoman Pingree in helping us to further our mission and restore this architectural gem to its original grandeur.” Said Bob Kearney, MIHC’s Board Chair.

“The original workmanship that created our building was of the highest quality. The building has weathered nearly 130 years in a cold climate and is still in relatively good shape,” Kearney continued. “However, it will not last another century in its current condition without significant restoration.”  

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, restoration has continued in the past couple of years, supported by our valued partners: the Government of Ireland’s Emigrant Support Programme and the City of Portland. Several significant projects now need serious attention, however, including the multimillion-dollar building envelope project. This project is the latest and most ambitious in our ongoing efforts to advance our critical cultural mission, provide a safe space for community events, and preserve this remarkable historic landmark.  

News Coverage

Bangor Daily News

Bob Kearney, chair of the Maine Irish Heritage Board, talks with Newscenter Maine.
13 WGME interviews Vinny O’Malley, one of MIHC’s founders.

Learn more about Restoration at the Maine Irish Heritage Center

Brick by Brick- Preserving and Protecting the Maine Irish Heritage Center introduces you to local experts in historic preservation. They discuss what still needs to be done to protect and preserve this architectural gem, including the building exterior envelope project.