President perfects art of cultural diplomacy at ambassadors' party
ARAS an Uachtarain resembled a gathering of the United Nations yesterday as 58 diplomats and their families attended President Mary McAleese's annual New Year reception for ambassadors and charges d'affaires. Many of those who attended wore their national dress, ensuring a blend of beautiful African fabrics, exotic Indian saris and the quaint waistcoats and long skirts of some of the eastern European countries.
Mrs McAleese wore an elegant brocade coat of red overlaid with gold and chocolate brown as she, her husband Dr Martin McAleese and Minister of State Peter Power, greeted each representative and their families.
Many had brought their children with them, and Mrs McAleese had a word for each of them as they filtered past in turn and stood patiently for the formal photographs.
Afterwards, all were treated to a cultural performance from Duchas, who played reels and jigs on harp, banjo, accordion and tin whistle, while Anthony Sharkey and Eileen Martin gave an Irish dancing display.