The Ireland Funds inaugural Coolmore Garden Party took place on Sunday 25 November at Randwick Racecourse. It was a real thrill for us to have the Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Lynne Cosgrove join us at the beginning of the day.
Our MC Richard Wilkins AM started off proceedings on the lawn by inviting Paula Rose- Basset, a proud Wakka Wakka, Miradjuri and Bundjalung woman to do an Acknowledgement of Country and Lochlan Crossley a proud Jerrinja man from Nowra to play the didgeridoo.
Chairman Yvonne Le Bas proudly invited The Governor-General of Australia to the stage when he acknowledged the strong bond between Ireland and Australia and the important contribution the Irish community has made here. He complimented The Ireland Funds on the invaluable work that we do, together with all our supporters, providing hope and educational opportunities to people in need, not only in Ireland but here in Australia as well.
We were then all treated to a performance by the wonderful dancers from the Dwyer Whelan Academy of Irish Dance. Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove walked around and stopped to chat with many guests along the way.
Moving into the Marquee to continue with the day, Chairman Yvonne Le Bas thanked everyone gathered including Board members, past Chairman John O’Neill AO, Consul General Owen Feeney, our partner this year Coolmore Australia , Tom and Sophie Magnier; Niall Ronan; The Lansdowne Club; major sponsors Emirates, Tim Harrowell; David Smith, Diageo; Charles Curran AC, Australian Radio Network and HT&E, Ciaran Davis; Ryan’s Hotels, The Star and Gallagher Hotels for all the continued support and for coming out in force for our inaugural Garden Party with Coolmore at Randwick.
Yvonne was thrilled to announce our largest grant round ever this year of $1,867,450 supporting activities such as Soar, Integrated Education, Suas Literacy, our partnership with Trinity College to provide scholarships in their MBA programme, Australian Indigenous Education Foundation and Trinity St. James’s Cancer Institute, to name a few.
Yvonne explained that she is very proud of the work of our Young Leaders, some of the most active globally, hosting for example a hugely successful Global 5K in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane this year, an annual corporate breakfast, a Diversity in Sport panel and many other activities. They are the future of The Ireland Funds cultivating an emerging generation of philanthropists, connecting the global Irish community and inspiring positive change.
Tom Magnier then took to the stage with Richard Wilkins where a lot of light banter happened about a recent All Blacks, Ireland Rugby Match.
Tom spoke proudly of the history of Coolmore in Ireland and of his father John Magnier, Vincent O’Brien and Robert Sangster taking over a small agricultural farm in 1975 and creating a world-class thoroughbred stallion operation, now operational in Ireland, America and Australia.
We all then very much enjoyed Ciaran Gribbin and his Ireland Rocks Band.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the live auction ably conducted by the charismatic Chris McKearney of EBM. The auction included Emirates Business Class tickets thanks to Tim Harrowell and Emirates, a Toyota Yaris thanks to Patrick Gallagher of Gallagher Hotels, fabulous packages from Coolmore Australia to Melbourne Cup 2019, to their Stud at the Hunter Valley and to Villiers Cup Day thanks to Tom and Sophie Magnier.
So many people happily bought Coolmore Cash to bet on our Coolmore Stud Stakes Race which took place on screen, called by Tony of Phantom Racing, it was fun, even if a bit of confusion reigned!
Helping Hand Group were great as always helping us to raise significant support for our work.
With formalities over, Ciaran Gribbin and Ireland Rocks took to the stage again which brought us all to our feet, it was so much fun.
Having all that fun allowed us to raise over $200,000 profit on the day and we are extremely grateful to every single person that came out to support us at Randwick for this event.
Photos by Matt Teague