11th April, 2012

Bel Air Country Club Reception 2012

After heavy showers overnight, it felt like an Irish summer’s day in Los Angeles on Wednesday, April 11th, appropriate for The American Ireland Fund’s first event of 2012 in southern California.  Bel Air was beautiful, lush and bursting with Spring flowers.  From the exclusive Bel Air Country Club on Bellagio Road, a glorious panoramic view of the city unfolded beyond exquisitely manicured greens that were in impeccable condition.  Founded in 1927, this is considered one of the most challenging golf courses on the West Coast.  According to published reports, Howard Hughes once landed his airplane on one of Bel Air’s fairways to impress Kathrine Hepburn, who lived off the 14th fairway. Hepburn was taking lessons from one of the pros at the time. Hughes emerged from the aircraft with his clubs and joined the twosome. Club executives were so furious that Hughes resigned his membership the following day and never returned to the club.  “It’s a place where people gather to enjoy the game in a beautiful setting. I think there’s hardly a lovelier place anywhere.” – Eddie Merrins, former head pro.

Member Edward White kindly hosted a very special cocktail reception in the Top of the Tee room at the Club for guests to meet Kieran McLoughlin, President and CEO, The Worldwide Ireland Funds.  Ed’s wife Mary was a charming and lovely hostess, providing a warm welcome to everyone including Mike Dunleavy, Rick Dees and Mr. & Mrs Eddie Merrins.  The guest list included members of the newly-formed Los Angeles Regional Advisory Board:  Harry Hartford with his wife Susan, Peter Culhane, Conor Shalloe with his wife Michele, Sean Kneafsey, Kaitlyn Cafferky Kyle, and Meredith Long.  Also present were AIF West Coast Director, Marjorie Muldowney, and AIF VP Liza O’Connor who was visiting from Dallas.  They were joined by long-standing friends of the Fund Annie &  Jimmy Murphy, Bill Grantham, Julie & Dan Murphy, and John Toland. New friends of the Fund included Edward White Jr., Suzanne Papaian, Chris Bollenbach, Richard Crane, Adrian Easterbrook, Michael Flood, Dave Podas, and Troy Schmidt.

Ed White gave a special introduction to Kieran McLoughlin who spoke warmly of the importance of Los Angeles in the history of The American Ireland Fund and the desire to re-establish a stronger presence in the market.  Several networking events are upcoming over the next year and  it is expected that Los Angeles will play a significant role in the current Promising Ireland Campaign to raise $100m by the end of 2013.  After a wonderful evening like this, we look forward to bringing everyone together for another memorable gathering soon.

Sincere thanks and appreciation to Edward White.