The exclusive West Hollywood hotspot Ysabel was the venue for a very special evening of chat, music, poetry and discussion with Irish Oscar and Grammy-winning musician Glen Hansard (The Commitments, Once) and Hollywood star Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother, Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall). The Irish-owned and operated Ysabel is one of the most exclusive celebrity-frequented restaurants in LA, and during Oscar week was no exception with a star studded turnout for the official launch event of The Ireland Funds’ permanent office in LA.
Jonathan Loughran, The Ireland Funds’ Los Angeles VP of Development, welcomed everybody to the event, acknowledging long-time supporters as well as many new faces to The Ireland Funds. Consul General Philip Grant, Vice Consul Colum Hatchell, Hon. Consul Finbar Hill and The Ireland Funds’ San Francisco VP of Development Marjorie Muldowney rubbed shoulders with a host of Irish acting royalty such as Amy Huberman, Victoria Smurfit, Olivia Tracey and Fionnula Flanagan, Irish Oscar-winning visual effects maestro Richie Baneham (Avatar) and his wife Aisling, as well as musician Colin Devlin, TV presenter Keith Costigan, famed American cinematographer John Schwartzman (Seabiscuit, Pearl Harbor, Star Wars IX) and his wife Ann, and British author, journalist and philanthropist Dawn O’Porter.
More than double the expected turnout made for a vibrant room that heard Jason Segel praise Glen Hansard for inspiring him, telling the audience, “I’m here because I am a fan of Glen’s, not just as an artist but as a human being. He has been very inspiring to me artistically.” The Oscar winner performed hits like Falling Slowly, as he was joined on stage by How I Met Your Mother star Jason, who interviewed him about his life from a busker on the streets of Dublin to an award-winning musician and fundraiser for charities such as the Fr. Peter McVerry Trust and the Dublin Simon Communities, both supported by The Ireland Funds. Glen invited spoken word artist Stephen James Smith on stage for a stirring performance of his poem “My Ireland” commissioned for the 2017 St Patrick’s Festival, and Glen invited Colin Devlin on stage to conclude with a roof-raising rendition of The Auld Triangle that had the entire crowd singing along.
Los Angeles Regional Advisory Board members Jim Layden and his wife Joan, Alan Hearty and his wife Hilary, Matthew Doran and his wife Jessica, Kaitlyn Kyle and her husband Chris and Peter Culhane were in attendance, as well as long-time supporters of The Ireland Funds: Danielle Ryan and Richard Bourke, Annie Murphy, Jamie Murphy, Ian Casey, Julie and David Helfrich, and Jane & Sean Browne. There were many new faces and new supporters including Ken Peterson and his daughter Emily, Smuggler’s Brian Carmody along with his father John Carmody and Christine Jackson, Universal Pictures CFO Arturo Barquet, Walt Disney Studios’ Mary Ann Hughes, Vice Media’s Niall Cooney and wife Jennifer, WHH Foundation’s Bernadette Glenn, Grant Thornton’s Emilie Guilbaud, A&E Networks Mark Tuohy, IDA Ireland’s Michelle Loughran, Conor Sheehy, Mike Storan and David Gaskin, Linda Thomas, and Vinoteque’s Ryan Hess and partner Siobhan Murphy.
Special thanks to Brian Carmody of Smuggler, Dean McKillen and Phil Howard at Ysabel, Howard Greynolds from Overcoat Management, Aidan McNally from Teelings Whiskey, and Emilie Guilbaud at Grant Thornton.