The Fighting Irishmen exhibit, curated by James J. Houlihan, first opened in 2006 at the Irish Arts Center in New York to great acclaim. Mr James J. Houlihan Commissioned Killian to produce the official Mural painting featuring fighters from different eras with Irish & Irish American ancestry.
The exhibit explores the contributions of Irish amateur and professional boxers over the last 200 years. Thereafter it was the feature exhibit in 2007 at the South Street Seaport Museum in lower Manhattan. In 2008, the exhibit was featured at the John Burns Library at Boston College, and in 2009 the exhibit traveled across the Atlantic and appeared in the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, Ireland as its feature exhibit. In 2010, the exhibit was on display at Croke Park at the GAA Museum in Dublin, Ireland. In 2011, the exhibit was at the Sports Arena at the University of Limerick in Ireland. The Fighting Irishmen exhibit was created specifically for the Irish Arts Center and has been travelling with unprecedented success since 2006. 2012 will see its 7th consecutive year on display.
The exhibit is sure to receive many viewers while it is on display in Phoenix. The exhibit opened January 31, 2013 at 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, Az. until the end of May, 2013. The reception will featured James Houlihan, local members of the Irish and boxing communities plus a special tribute to boxing legend and Phoenix resident Muhammed Ali, whose great-grandfather hailed from Ennis, Ireland, Phoenix’s sister city.
The exhibition will featured an array of robes, gloves, boxing bags, prints, photographs, painting and film footage of Celtic prize-fighters from 1820 to the present day. Intriguing objects on display will include pieces from sporting greats such as John L. Sullivan, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Barry McGuigan, Freddie Gilroy, Bobby Cassidy, Gerry Cooney, Wayne McCullough, Billy Graham, Billy Conn, Frank Moran, John Duddy, Maureen Shea and many more. Ballymena-born actor Liam Neeson, Honorary Chair and long-time supporter of the Irish Arts Center, has also loaned personal items from his amateur boxing career to the exhibit including the gloves given to him by Olympic boxer Freddie Gilroy.
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