On Thursday, March 14th, over 700 Young Leaders and friends of The American Ireland Fund met up for the 8th annual St. Patrick’s Celebration. This signature fundraising event for the New York Young Leaders was held at the stunning Capitale and lived up to its reputation. The evening was a true success and raised support for The Ireland Funds Promising Ireland Campaign to assist charities in Ireland and around the globe.
The evening began with a performance by the Hungry March Band and a brilliant DJ set by our friend, DJ Teal, who entertained our VIPs in Capitale’s stunning Red Room, which is adorned with the art work of Peter Tunney.
After the cocktail hour, the crowd moved into the ballroom for a spirited performance by the New York Young Leader Darrah Carr’s Dance Company and a performance by the McLean Avenue Band, back for their third year of live entertainment.
The program was led by the Co-Chair team of Bernadette McCabe Kelly, David McCormack and Rachel Conlan. David introduced the first honoree, Ireland’s Deputy Consul General to New York, Peter Ryan. Peter was the recipient of the inaugural Dylan Smith Community Service Award. The award is in honor of Dylan’s bravery during Superstorm Sandy. Dylan, a lifeguard and avid surfer, saved six people from drowning in Belle Harbor with the use of his surfboard. Soon after, Dylan tragically died in a surfing accident while on vacation in Puerto Rico. The award was given to Peter for his hard work and dedication to the recovery effort after Superstorm Sandy. Peter coordinated local Irish organizations to work together which resulted in over 1500 people going out to the Rockaways and Breezy Point for a series of service days titled "Irish Day of Action." Peter accepted the award on behalf of all of the Irish-American groups who assisted in the cleanup and recovery effort.
Co-Chair Bernadette McCabe Kelly then took the stage to introduce Ireland’s Minister for Transportation, Alan Kelly who complimented the Young Leaders on their fundraising efforts and recognized the important work of The American Ireland Fund on the ground in Ireland.
Bernadette was followed by her fellow Co-Chair, Rachel Conlan who introduced the second honoree, actor Chris O’Dowd. Chris was presented with the Jameson Irish Spirit Award. Chris took the stage and talked about what he felt the "Irish Spirit" is all about and how the Irish people are at their best when telling stories. "The Irish are the best storytellers in the world," he said and went on to tell a few stories of his own to the delight of the supporters.
The evening continued with song and dance by the McLean Avenue Band and the Emerald Fire Dancers. A spirited live auction headlined by a Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week package and a golf excursion to Ireland with a round of golf at the K Club, site of The Ireland Funds 2013 Worldwide Conference brought in thousands of dollars for the Promising Ireland Campaign.
The night continued with an after party on Stone Street at our sponsors taverns: Stone Street Tavern, Becketts and The Dubliner.
Special thanks to our presenting sponsor, Jameson Irish Whiskey as well as the following sponsors: PWC, McNamara Options LLC, Sixpoint Brewery, Kennedy Computer Consulting and Aer Lingus.