Wednesday 28 September 2016

'Parties in Ireland much better on Fridays' - American ambassador to Ireland unapologetic about hosting Independence Day party on Canada’s national holiday

Published 01/07/2016 | 20:51

Kevin O'Malley, American Ambassador to Ireland speaks to guests. American Ambassador's American Independence Day celebration party. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Kevin O'Malley, American Ambassador to Ireland speaks to guests. American Ambassador's American Independence Day celebration party. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Breege O'Donoghue, Primark director, at the American Ambassador's American Independence Day celebration party. Photo: Caroline Quinn

American ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley was unapologetic about hosting the annual Independence Day garden party on Canada’s national holiday today.

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The annual shindig on the grounds of the lavish ambassador’s residence at the Phoenix Park is normally held on July 4 to celebrate the American national holiday, Independence Day.

But it was held three days early this year because “parties in Ireland seem to be much better on Fridays than Mondays,” Mr  O’Malley told Independent.ie.

Yet not wanting to risk a diplomatic incident involving the US’s closest neighbour and ally, he said he made sure that hosting the party on July 1, Canada Day,  wouldn’t ruffle any feathers.

“The Canadian ambassador (Kevin Vickers) is not having his national day today,” he said of official celebrations hosted by the Canadian embassy, which were held on Thursday ahead of today’s official Canadian bank holiday.

“’We would not have had the celebration today had Canada Day been celebrated today,” he said.

“We check these things to make sure they’re done,” he said.

Indeed, one of the invited quests at the massive outdoor BBQ on the grounds of the residence was John Roxburgh, (48), a native of Toronto, Canada who is the head of commerce at the Canadian embassy in Dublin.

While he looked and sounded like many of  the American ex-pats in the crowd,  he slyly donned a red and white Calgary Stampeders (football team) cowboy hat in a subtle show of solidarity with his homeland.

But he laughed off any suggestions of being a traitor.

“We have the day off work today so we joined the Americans,” he said.

And despite the frequent bouts of torrential rain, the party went off without a hitch as hundreds of Irish American families, business people and other guests feasted on hotdogs, hamburgers, popcorn and ice cream as live Boogie Woogie and Americana roots and bluegrass bands entertained the crowd from a bandstand.

Cincinnati native Chip Kelly, (53), who moved to Dublin with his wife Jana, (53), three years ago, said he loves living in Ireland, even if the Independence Day party made him feel a little homesick.

“To see the hotdogs and hamburgers and flags and everything. It makes you miss the US a little bit,” he said.

“But it’s nicely done by the ambassador Kevin O’Malley. He does a nice job of bringing together the business community, the local community and really puts on a great event,” he said.

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