On a gorgeous Friday evening, September 14th, over 200 guests joined the Washington, DC Young Leaders as they hosted their signature “Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” celebration fundraiser.
The event took place at the Dumbarton House in Georgetown, a historic house museum built c. 1800 and the headquarters of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America.
When guests arrived, they were escorted through the main lobby of the museum out to the beautiful back gardens that were decorated with American Ireland Fund- branded luminaries and Conor Malone played acoustic guitar to set the mood. The white lighting led guests to the outside bar and the ballroom where they were greeted by the Motown sounds of “The Moonlighters.”
The guests were also treated to fantastic hors d’oeuvres catered by Cava and an Irish Whiskey tasting sponsored by Jameson.
While supporters danced and enjoyed cocktails, the new Irish Ambassador to the United States, Anne Anderson arrived. Ambassador Anderson greeted the guests and graciously took photos with our Steering Committee.
Later in the evening, during the formal program, Steering Committee Vice Chair Patrick Lyden introduced Stewart Matthews of the Northern Ireland Bureau (One of the evening’s sponsors) who talked about the many ways The American Ireland Fund and the NI Bureau have worked together, including the annual AIF-supported “Beltway to Belfast Boxing night” that brings together young boxers from Northern Ireland and youth from the DC area. Patrick Lyden is also on the committee for that event.
Our DC Steering Committee Chair, Megan Molloy, then took to the podium to thank all of the key sponsors and our guests and then introduce Ambassador Anne Anderson, who Megan called “A role model.”
Ambassador Anderson thanked Megan and spoke about the great work of The American Ireland Fund and the strong bond between Ireland and America. She then introduced our honoree for the evening, Chef Cathal Armstrong, who received the Jameson Irish Spirit Award for his passion for his craft, his entrepreneurial spirit and his generosity with so many organizations including the AIF and Share Our Strength, which is a non-profit dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger in the U.S.
Dublin-born and raised, Chef Armstrong took to the podium, accepted his award, thanked the AIF and our supporters and went on to talk about his love of food and in particular, Irish butter. He claimed that he did a blind butter taste test with his staff and Irish butter was by far everyone’s favorite.
Later in the evening, Chef Armstrong participated in a live auction in which the winner received a cocktail party for 20 catered by Chef Armstrong. Other live auction items included a meet and greet with 2014 European Ryder Cup Captain, Paul McGinley and a walk on role on the hit Netflix show, House of Cards, nominated for multiple Emmy Awards.
Special thanks to the event committee especially Mairin Van Shura who was the point person at every turn for this event. Also to our sponsors: Jameson, Merrill Lynch, The Northern Ireland Bureau, The DuPont Circle Hotel, Zurich, Microsoft, The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America and The Stanton Park Group.