Sunday 22 January 2017

'Noisy, robust and complicated' - US Embassy to Ireland hosts election party

Kirsty Blake-Knox

Published 09/11/2016 | 00:20

Minister Katherine Zappone pictured with US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin F O Malley, at the US Embassy Election night 2016 at the Guinness Store House.Picture Credit: Frank Mc Grath
Minister Katherine Zappone pictured with US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin F O Malley, at the US Embassy Election night 2016 at the Guinness Store House.Picture Credit: Frank Mc Grath

“Noisy, robust and complicated,” US Ambassador Kevin O’Malley was talking about democracy when he took to the podium in the Guinness Storehouse on Tuesday but he may as well have been talking about the Embassy’s US 2016 Election Party.

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The shindig kicked off with stars and stripes, terrifying life-size balloon statues of Donald Trump, an abundance of sliders and a giant Statue of Liberty ice luge.

It was jam packed with RTE broadcaster Blaithnaid Ni Chofaigh, Heather Humphreys, Michael Healy Rae, and Alan Kelly were along the guests to crowd through the doors and await the results of the most divisive US election in memory unfold.

“Everyone thinks it’s going to be Hillary but there are lots of secret voters out there,” Blaithnaid warned while tucking into a burger.

Guests were greeted by jumpin' jive jazz band the Bugle Babes who serenaded ex pats with show tunes. 

Beside patriotic ice luges depicting American eagles and memorials, things were getting heated.

Jenny Maguire , Rathfarnham and Nicole Kehoe from Clonskeigh pictured at the US Embassy Election night 2016 at the Guinness Store House. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Jenny Maguire , Rathfarnham and Nicole Kehoe from Clonskeigh pictured at the US Embassy Election night 2016 at the Guinness Store House. Photo: Frank Mc Grath

A presidential pop quiz saw tempers fly. “How did you think Thomas Jefferson moved into the white house in 1802!? How” One irate democrat exclaimed.

“What are they playing for?” I asked a lady holding a clipboard.

“A notebook”.

As punters sank pints and watch US election coverage on giant TV screens, the volume in the room increased.

Taking to the stage Kevin O’Malley welcomed guests.

"You would think that after so many elections we Americans would be used to this, calm about it.  But no," he said.

"Democracy in a nation of over 300 million people can be noisy, robust and often complicated.

"Each of us have our own opinions and deeply held beliefs.  When we go through tough times and make big decisions as a country, it inevitably stirs passions," he continued.

"That won’t change after tonight, and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty.”

“The United States is a country founded on the principle of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people -- in Abraham Lincoln’s famous words.   This democratic process – as exhausting as it can be – is what makes us the United States of America.”

Guests were encouraged to vote for their preferred candidate and pose next to balloon versions of either candidate - crafted by children’s entertainer Mr Balloonatic.

Those interested in more political chat than party pieces enjoyed Pint Sized Chat series.

The fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail was hosted by Dr Patrick Geoghegan and Borders, Bridges and Beyond was another packed out event.

Poll results started to filter in by 11pm which were followed by cheers and gasps.

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