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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

At the entrance to Irish Heritage Center in Cincinnati there is a display with the 32 counties of Ireland.

It's all alphabetical so people can come and see where their family is from. FOX19 Morning Anchor Sheila Gray's great grandmother came from Sligo.

Maureen Kennedy is the founder of Cincinnati's Irish Heritage Center. She began her crusade 7-years ago when she went to a Celtic festival and there was no Irish theatre being preformed.

Now Maureen's theatre company and more inhabit the old McKinley School on Eastern Avenue.

Inside there's a library, museum, classes and genealogy.

One piece is a model of a famine ship. It provides a history lesson on why so many Irish were driven to leave the Emerald Isle.

Sheila's great great grandfather came on a ship just like the one shown at the heritage center.

Irish musicians have found a home here too.  Wally Desmond and Pat Waters spent time at the center last month, performing their tribute to Ireland's Easter rising.

"It's great to find people who haven't forgotten their heritage and who appreciate the difficulty their forefathers went through," Pat told Sheila. "You have to remember your history. And in doing that it helps you appreciate what you have today."

The pair also performed in the center's Irish pub where Managing Director and Co-Founder Kent Covey recently received a perfect pint certification award from Guinness.

The secret, Kent says, is tipping the glass and letting it rest and following off so you get full action inside the glass.

The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Society makes its home here too. The group is known for its charitable works and its glee club.

Kent says what he loves most about the center is the stories that visitors share, "If I had my druthers I'd do nothing but sit and interview people who came from Ireland. Because it'll be lost if we don't do it. That's what we're here for, to preserve the Irish culture"

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