12th October, 2012

Monaco Gala Weekend 2012

On Friday, October 12th, supporters of The Worldwide Ireland Funds from around the globe settled on the Principality of Monaco for what would be the most successful Ireland Fund of Monaco Gala weekend to date.

The festivities began on Friday evening with welcome cocktails and dinner.
Guests were then treated to a performance by world famous tenor, Robert White who enchanted the guests with beautifully performed traditional Irish tunes taken from his unique collection recorded especially for Princess Grace.

On Saturday morning, the supporters departed on a petit train for a tour around Monaco culminated by the “changing of the guard” at the Palace and a private tour of some of the most luxurious and exquisite boudoirs in the Palace.

The visit to the Palace was followed by a group lunch al fresco at the Explorers Club overlooking the yachts and tall ships on the harbor.

Later that evening, the guests gathered on the terrace of Salle Empire, Hotel de Paris, which was followed by the Gala Dinner.
The Gala was kicked off with a performance by the Irish sisters of “Sephira” with their unique blend of voice and violin which set the tone for an electric evening. President and CEO of The Worldwide Ireland Fund, Kieran McLoughlin introduced Michael Fitzgerald, President of The Ireland Fund of Monaco and thanked him for his dedication and commitment to Ireland and presented him with The Bird and Bell Award, one of the Funds most prestigious Awards, for his great support and leadership driving The Ireland Fund of Monaco.

Michael acknowledged the dedication and support of Madame Gallico who contributed to make the weekend a rousing success. He then had the honor of introducing His Serene Highness Prince Albert II.

Prince Albert II reminded the supporters about his family’s close ties to Ireland and his mother’s passion for her Irish heritage, which has lived on in her memory through the Princess Grace Irish Library, supported by The Ireland Fund of Monaco. He then welcomed the evening’s honoree, JP McManus to the podium to receive the 2012 Princess Grace Humanitarian Award. HSH Prince Albert said “In creating the Humanitarian Award in the name of Princess Grace, the Ireland Fund of Monaco not only perpetuates the memory of my Mother, it also pays tribute to her Irish ancestry of which she was so proud. Throughout her life, my Mother cared deeply about the needy and the underprivileged.  This Award is a reminder of her profound concern for others. Tonight, I am delighted to present this Award to a great Irish philanthropist who, again like my Mother, is dedicated to helping children.  The various scholarship awards that he has set up and supported have benefitted many young people (who) have returned his investment. His commitment to investing in Ireland’s youth is an example of his generosity of spirit and concern for our future generations.”

JP McManus acknowledged this honor from His Serene Highness and thanked the guests for this Award which he was delighted to accept on behalf of his family and he spoke about the importance of giving back, even in the toughest of economic times.
Guests danced the night away with an energetic performance from The White Cats and enjoyed a beautiful evening with HSH Prince Albert II.

On Sunday afternoon, the guests visited one of the oldest medieval towns of the French Riviera, Saint Paul deVence.  Guests dined at one of the finest restaurants, Clos des Arts and  celebrated their last afternoon together.  Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Chairman of The American Ireland Fund, closed the weekend by thanking everyone for attending the weekend’s celebrations which was the most successful in our history and for their support of the Funds in delivering for Ireland through its Promising Ireland Campaign to raise $140 million for Irish charities across Ireland.