Celebrating its 27th year in Palm Beach, The Ireland Funds’ Annual Emerald Isle Dinner Dance took place on Feb. 16, 2017 at The Breakers. The event drew more than 200 friends, supporters and dignitaries that included Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, the Honorable Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, the Honorable Nancy Brinker, Consul General Shane Stephens, and Brian P. Burns. Other distinguished guests included Robert Kraft, the proud owner of the New England Patriots, which recently scored a stunning Super Bowl victory; prolific author Mary Higgins Clark; Bob Wright, CEO of the Palm Beach Civic Association and co-founder of Autism Speaks, and David Foster, the Canadian composer, songwriter, record producer, who stopped by to hear award-winning Irish tenor, Ronan Tynan’s live performance.
The Venetian Ballroom set the scene for the cocktail reception and dinner, and entertainment was provided by the Bob Merrill Orchestra. William M. “Bill” Murphy served as the Dinner Chairman of the event that honored Florida native and entrepreneur, Tim Gannon. Murphy welcomed the guests, thanked the Honorary Chairmen for their support and generosity before he introduced John Fitzpatrick, Chairman of The Ireland Funds. Fitzpatrick also extended words of welcome and thanks and then introduced Kieran McLoughlin, Worldwide President and CEO of The Ireland Funds, who provided an update on the vital work of The Ireland Funds as one of the largest supporters of Ireland’s non-profit sector.
Following dinner, Honorary Dinner Co-Chair Bill Finneran took the podium and gave a few highlights about Gannon’s career as a restaurateur and co-founder of Outback Steakhouse, and cited polo and tennis, among his passions. Then Brian Burns, who anticipates an ambassadorial appointment to Ireland, introduced Gannon, whose Business Leadership Award was co-presented by Burns and Finneran. Following, Board member Tom Quick conducted a live auction and then called to the stage the multi-talented Ronan Tynan, also a sought-after motivational speaker and a Paralympian Gold Medalist, who gave a memorable live performance that ended with a stirring rendition of God Bless America.