The Ireland Funds Monaco gathered the weekend of October 12 for their bi-annual celebration. Over 30 guests travelled from the US and Ireland to take part in the weekend’s events.
The weekend started with a train ride through Monte Carlo to the Palace of Monaco. Upon arriving at the Palace guests witnessed the changing of the guard before entering the Palace for a private tour. Following the tour of the Palace guests crossed the square to Castle Roc restaurant for lunch. John Fitzpatrick, Chairman, The Ireland Funds America, officially welcomed guests to Monaco and paid tribute to the late Billy Vincent who founded The Ireland Funds Monaco.
That evening guests were joined by many local Monegasques and Irish residing in Monaco for the central activity of the weekend, the Gala Dinner with His Serene Highness, Prince Albert of Monaco. Sir Michael Smurfit was the 2018 recipient of the Princess Grace Humanitarian Award in recognition of his business and philanthropic contributions to Ireland. Emcee for the night was Ronan Collins who welcomed guests and introduced John Fitzpatrick. John highlighted the important work of The Ireland Funds and introduced Prince Albert who has strong ties to Ireland through his mother, Grace Kelly. H.S.H. Prince Albert spoke warmly about the evening’s honoree and his good friend, Sir Michael, thanking him for all he has done for relations between Monaco and Ireland in his role as Honorary Irish Consul to Monaco. Sir Michael was presented with a 3,000 year-old Irish bog oak award. His acceptance remarks focused on the attributes that he built his business, Smurfit Kappa, on and the successes the company enjoyed as a result. Following dinner, Ronan Collins introduced the evening’s entertainment, Music Generation. Music Generation is one of the hundreds of organizations funded annually by The Ireland Funds. The initiative promotes access to music training and tuition among young people across Ireland. Representatives from Laois Trad Orchestra of Music Generation preformed three lively pieces before local band Monte Carlo Connection took over the evening’s entertainment and filled the dance floor.
Saturday morning took the guests out of Monaco for a visit to the Eileen Gray E-1027 Villa. Eileen Gray, born in Co. Wexford, Ireland, was an architect in the 1920s. The villa, which she built with her partner, was currently being restored. Guests had a private tour of the villa learning about Eileen Gray’s legacy and work. Lunch was then served on the terrace of the villa with beautiful views overlooking the Mediterranean Ocean. Dinner’s guest speaker was Declan Kiberd. Declan is currently the Write in Residence at the Princess Grace Irish Library, a bursary supported by The Ireland Funds.
The last official event of the weekend was a farewell brunch at the Monte Carlo Beach Club after which guests began to make their way home after a wonderful weekend in Monaco.
Photos: Ed Wright Images