The Ireland Funds returned with verve for its 31st Annual Palm Beach Emerald Isle Ball on February 17, 2022 at The Breakers.
The black-tie gala, which drew nearly 240 friends and supporters, was co-chaired by Lore Moran Dodge, Michele Kessler, Hillie Mahoney. Sheila O’Malley Fuchs and Thomas C. Quick, and honored dedicated Palm Beach community activists, Bridget and Timothy “Tim’ Moran.
The evening began with an al fresco cocktail reception in the Mediterranean Ballroom, followed by dinner in The Circle Dining Room with entertainment by The Bob Merrill Society Swing Orchestra.
Caitriona Fottrell, The Ireland Funds President & CEO, welcomed guests and thanked them for their generous support of its “Heart of the Community Fund,” which launched in Palm Beach in 2021.
The initiative provided rapid, critical funding to a wide range of not-for-profit organizations to help meet urgent needs in communities throughout Ireland. Then Gene McQuade, the Chairman of The Ireland Funds America, took the podium and expressed his gratitude to Palm Beach for its welcome, friendship and ongoing support.
The evening included a special tribute to Brian P. Burns, who passed away in 2021. The Ireland Funds America Board Member and event co-chair, Thomas C. Quick recounted how the elder statesman helped spearhead the merger of the American Irish Foundation and Ireland Fund in 1987 into what is now known as, The Ireland Funds, and that he was a lifetime trustee of the organization. Mr. Quick also mentioned other noteworthy accomplishments including that Mr. Burns was named one of the “Greatest Irish Americans of the 20th Century” by Irish America magazine. Mr. Burns’s wife, Eileen, along with other family members, were in attendance.
Mr. Quick then invited fellow board member and co-chair, Michele Kessler, to the podium to present The Ireland Funds 2022 Community Leadership Award to the Morans. Mr. Quick cited their extensive volunteerism, and the tireless efforts made on behalf of the Palm Beach community, particularly during the pandemic to help ensure the safety of the town’s first responders and residents through the Palm Beach Police & Fire Foundation, the organization Mr. Moran co-founded in 2006.
Both Tim Moran, who wore a bowtie that once belonged to Mr. Burns, and Bridget Moran made brief remarks about how honored they were and how much they appreciated the recognition to cheers from the audience, which was peppered with Palm Beach police officers and fire fighters.
After dinner, Mr. Quick conducted a live auction for items that included luxury stays in Ireland. Following, Irish vocalist, Chlöe Agnew, the original lead singer of the Grammy and Emmy-nominated Celtic Woman, gave a memorable live performance. “Goodnight and joy be to you all,” lyrics from her closing number, “Parting Glass,” reflected the guests’ buoyant spirits as the event came to a close.
Proceeds from the Ball will benefit nonprofit organizations providing key services to communities across the island of Ireland. The Ireland Funds is one of the largest private grant-makers in Ireland for nonprofit organizations across Ireland and around the globe. The Ireland Funds continues its tradition of supporting initiatives in the local community and Palm Beach will benefit from a donation made by The Ireland Funds to the Palm Beach Police & Fire Foundation in honor of the Morans.
PHOTOS: by Capehart