The building was designed by the architect Edmund Aikin and built between 1815–1816 as a subscription assembly room for the Wellington Club. It was originally used by high society for dance balls and parties. Neo-classical in style the building's façade is Grade II listed, but it is now blackened and the building is derelict, a reflection on the changing wealth and fashions in the city. Built between 1815-1816 as a subscription assembly room for the Wellington Club, the venue provided a worthy setting for the dance-loving Liverpool merchant princes, their friends and families for dance balls and parties. With its gracious architecture and interior design, the building quickly became the centre of fashionable Liverpool life. The Wellington Club was wound up in 1923 but the Rooms continued to function as a social club and place of entertainment throughout the 20th Century, being known in succession as the Embassy Rooms, Rodney Rooms and Rodney Youth Centre.
Although there was a small Irish community in Liverpool before, it was the failure of the potatoe crop in 1847 and successive years that brought large numbers of Irish people to Liverpool. It is estimated that more than 500,000 came to the city between 1847 and 1851, with thousands more following in later years.
By The turn of the century many had settled in in the north of the city around the Scotland Road area, they also built about 40 churches and not only built schools but provided the teachers for them. The next huge wave of emigrants was in the late 1940s and the Irish continued to arrive on Liverpool's shores into the 50s and 60s and were now setting up homes throughout the city. There were three branches of the Gaelic League in Wood Street, Burlington Street and Crosby and also Irish activities taking place in many parish halls across Liverpool. But still there was no Irish Centre.
In 1961 following a visit to St Brendans Irish Centre in Manchester by a group of Liverpool Gaelic footballers, Fr Michael O'Connor a young Kerry priest who was based at Christ the King in Childwall, said "If Manchester can do it so can Liverpool".
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