Love was in the air at The Ireland Funds “An Irish Valentine Celebration,” its 29th Annual Emerald Isle Palm Beach Dinner Dance on February 14, 2019 at The Breakers. The black-tie gala, co-chaired by Lore Dodge, Michele Kessler, Hillie Mahoney. Sheila O’Malley Fuchs and Thomas C. Quick, drew nearly 200 friends and supporters.
The evening began with a cocktail reception in the Magnolia Room followed by dinner and dancing in The Circle Dining Room with entertainment by The Bob Merrill Orchestra. The Ireland Funds honored longtime supporters Paula and Bob Butler with its 2019 Philanthropic Leadership Award.
Kyle Clifford, Vice President of Development of The Ireland Funds America, welcomed the guests and thanked them for their support and generosity. Over the years, The Ireland Funds has supported the local community with a donation from Dinner Dance proceeds. He acknowledged Bob Hamon, CEO of the Center for Creative Education, the local organization that will receive a donation from The Ireland Funds in support of its mission to empower students through arts-based education.
During his remarks, Chairman of The Ireland Funds America, John Fitzpatrick acknowledged the dignitaries in attendance that included the Honorable Elizabeth Frawley Bagley; Irish Ambassador to the United States, Dan Mulhall; Consul General of Ireland Shane Stephens, and Brian Stack and David O’Sullivan from the Ireland US Council. Mr. Fitzpatrick said that Valentine’s Day was a fitting occasion to honor the Butlers, “a power couple in business and life.”
Caitriona Fottrell, The Ireland Funds’ Vice President and Director of Ireland, presented the Philanthropic Leadership Award to the Butlers, which Paula Butler accepted as she gave words of thanks, along with praise for The Ireland Funds’ support of so many vital programs that serve the island of Ireland.
After dinner, Tom Quick, a National Director of The Ireland Funds America, conducted a live auction for items that included a trip to Ireland, and a luxurious culinary experience in France. After the auction, guests were entertained by a live performance by Irish-born vocalist, Niamh Hyland, and her accompanist, Shu Nakamura, whose romantic repertoire had couples swaying on the dance floor.
The enchanted evening was testament to the good will and generosity of The Ireland Funds’ supporters, their deep love for Ireland and for the local community.