On March 12th over 350 people, including many of London’s leading figures in business, entertainment, politics, and fashion as well as numerous young leaders from the Ireland Funds attended the beautiful St Andrew’s church in Holborn to celebrate an early St Patrick’s Day, and watch stars of Irish film, theatre and opera perform the ancient Irish tradition of the Noble Call.
The occasion was opened by trustee Zachary Webb who gave an impassioned speech about the incredible support that the Ireland Funds have given to more than 3,000 organisations across education, community, peace and reconciliation over the last 40 years. He then announced the inaugural Noble Call to which artists Angeline Ball, Paul Bradley, Niamh Cusack, Adrian Dunbar and Jade Yourell, and the superb classical singers, Carolyn Dobbin and Owen Gilhooly all answered with stunning performances.
Even Ambassador Dan Mulhall delivered a spirited reading of Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney from the vicar’s pulpit whilst the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, gave an eloquent speech about the Irish arts and the need for its’ continued support.
The Ireland Funds were represented by Shaun Dunne, the young playwright for the renowned Abbey Theatre, and Jennifer O’Connell from Lismore Music Festival, just two of the many arts organisations supported by The Ireland Funds. The new Director of the Ireland Funds in Great Britain, Mark Carrigan, also took the opportunity to thank the audience for their past generosity and remind them how important their donations are to the future of Irish culture.
This unique and exceptional night was of course accompanied by the best of Irish fayre and all enjoyed delectable Carlingford Oysters, Sheridan’s Cheese, Guinness from Ted O’Leary, as well as gin and vodka from the
Dingle Distillery, all of whom, along with Diageo, kindly sponsored the celebration.
It was a night to be remembered and one that saw the greatness of Ireland’s culture sung and spoken, whilst raising awareness for the continued support needed by the arts.
Photos: Fergus Burnett