About ISAA

  • The purpose of the Irish South African Association is;
  • To promote Irish culture in all its forms, including sport literature, theatre, dance and music.
  • To act as a forum and contact point for all things Irish.
  • Provide a link for the Irish diaspora, where they can meet like minded people and network with others who have an Irish background.

The ISAA was founded in Cape Town in 2001. Most of the functions took place in or around the Mother City. Organically the organisation grew throughout the country and in November 2008 a Gauteng Chapter based in Johannesburg of the ISAA was started. A Kwa-Zulu chapter in Durban followd in 2011. Each chapter acts with full autonomy and shall operate independently of any other chapter or chapters; provided that such chapter shall at all times be bound by the provisions of the Constitution.

Although we share the website, events are planned locally. So please check your events calendar for your chapter.

Throughout the year ISAA have various social and sporting events to promote Irish Culture and caoil Our flag ship event is of course St Patrick’s Day 17th March the patron saint of Ireland and the National Day of Ireland , which is celebrated throughout the world and South Africa is no exception. Check the website for details.

Should you have any questions or queries regarding the Association or if you would like to take a active role . please do not hesitate to contact us.

Our Committee Members

Cape Town

Cape Town Chapter

Michael O’Brien


From Nenagh, County Tipperary, Michael started visiting Cape Town in 2000 after his son married and relocated here. He moved to Cape Town permanently in 2015 joining the Irish South African Association shortly after. He was elected Chair of the Cape Town chapter at the co17 AGM. After spending his entire working life in the construction industry, Michael was looking for the quiet life before taking on his role with the ISAA. Little did he know!

Kevin McEvoy


Born in Cape Town. Kevin’s father’s family is from County Tipperary and his mother’s family from County Kilkenny. Kevin is a retired accountant and is involved in his family’s business

Fr. Dick O’Riordan

Committee Member

Born at Monard, Whitechurch, County Cork. Fr. Dick has lived and worked as a Priest in Cape Town since 1967, with occasional sprints across the borders of South Africa.

Lisa Fahy

Committee Member

From Galway and graduating with a B.Comm degree from the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2006, Lisa is a dual qualified Lawyerboth in Ireland and the UK. She works for Cognia Law in Cape Town as a Project Manager delivering commercial contracts and financial documentation projects driven by regulatory changes. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys running, hiking, swimming and exploring the great outdorrs that Cape Town has to offer..

Ms Fiona McCosh

Committee Member

Maureen Sharpe


Born in London, Maureen’s parents were from Dingle, Co. Kerry. Maureen has been involved with various Irish organisations in Cape Town for over 25 years and was a founding member of the Irish South African Association in 2001.

Valerie Doherty


Originally from the UK, Valerie spent a number of years in Ireland before moving to Cape Town in November 2015. She has always worked in administration management, both in the high-tech industry and latterly in a school for hearing impaired children. She resumed her education in a part time basis in the 1990’s obtaining her MBA at Brighton University, majoring in Human Resources Management.

Will Carter

Committee Member

Will’s Irish heritage can be traced back to ancestors from the Vales of Antrim, but his forbears were Scots. Born in Cape Town, he is a workaholic entrepreneur and in his little free time, sustains a strong interest in creative writing, good literature, Celtic music and song. Will is an active officer in the world’s oldest Christian Order of Chivalry and his passion is spending meditation time in rainforests around the globe.

Dr. Sandren Naidoo

Committee Member

Dr Sandren Gopal Naidoo is an historian, archivist, genealogist and educationist. He is currently working as a school inspector in the Western Cape Province. Dr Naidoo is a former under and post-graduate student of Professor Donal McCracken, from whom he cultivated an interest in Southern African/Irish history. At various platforms he has delivered several talks on the Irish in South Africa. Dr Naidoo has published several articles and is currently writing a book on the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement.


Gauteng Chapter

Breda Kenealy


Breda is from Dublin. She spent 7 years in Zambia before coming to South Africa in 1976. She has been involved with various Irish Associations for the past 40 years. Breda is one of the founder members of the Irish South African Association.

Claire Sullivan

Vice Chairperson

Claire has been involved in various Johannesburg based Irish Associations since the 1980’s having been a founder member of the Irish Women’s Association and currently fulfils the portfolio of Vice Chairperson of the Johannesburg Chapter of the ISAA as well as being involved with the Social Media aspect of the Association.
Claire comes from the small heritage village of Ardagh, County Longford and returns to visit as often as possible.

Winnie Lumsden

Committee Member

Originally from Lattin, Tipperary, Winnie moved to Johannesburg in 1984, a transfer from Boart Hardmetals in Shannon. Mom to Kate & mom-in-law to her husband Kyle, Aisling and granddaughter Hannah. As part of a large family, Winnie returns to Ireland on a regular basis and is a diehard Munster rugby supporter. She’s been part of ISAA for the past four years.

Helen Greene


Helen lives in Johannesburg with her husband John, a fellow Dub, and their 1 year old daughter Trixie. She works in Change at a Pan African Investment Bank and in her free time enjoys public speaking, cycling and anything outside in the sun. She has 30 years of Irish weather to make up for after all !

Lorraine Keenan


Born in Dublin, living in Joburg for the past 45 years with family and friends.

Lorraine celebrates her Irish heritage as Chairperson of the Irish South Africa Association in Gauteng. She takes great joy in sharing the Irish culture and customs with the Diaspora

After many years of sales and marketing activities she has joined the ranks of Social Entrepreneurs in the Tourism space. Working with international volunteers
She is driven by her passion and commitment for the development and upliftment of impoverished communities in South Africa.


Durban Chapter

Mandy Slabbert


Derek Prancer


Ronnie Clark


Ray McNulty

Bev Moore