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One Hundred Thousand Welcomes for Michael Collins, the Irish Ambassador to the U.S.

THE SEATTLE Irish community welcomed Michael Collins, the Irish ambassador to the United States, on June 8-9. This visit was indeed historic as this was the first official visit by an Irish ambassador to Washington State since 1987. Pictured above: John Keane, the Honorary Consul of Ireland for Seattle and Washington state; Catholine Butler of The Celtic Connection; with Ambassador Michael Collins and his wife Marie.

JOHN KEANE (Honorary Consul of Ireland for Seattle and Washington State), Mike and Audrey Kelly (Kelowna, B.C.), with Ambassador Collins and his wife Marie.

FINIAN ROWLAND [far right] with friends Seamus and Mick enjoying the ambassador’s reception at FX McRory’s.

MICHAEL COLLINS, the Irish ambassador to the U.S. (far right) is shown above with P.J. O’Donnell (Galway), Jerry Staunton (Consul General of Ireland for the Western U.S.), and Nanci Spieker (president of the Irish Heritage Club, Seattle).

JEAN ROTH (director of education, Seattle Genealogical Society) with Frank and Mary Shriane at the reception for Ambassador Michael Collins at FX McRory’s restaurant.

PHOTO: Rozarii Lynch HONORARY Consul John Keane, Ambassador Michael Collins and Consul General Gerry Staunton.

MICK MCHUGH, owner and genial host at FX McRory’s

By CATHOLINE BUTLER

SEATTLE – The visit by Ambassador Michael Collins was indeed historic as this was the first official visit by an Irish Ambassador to Washington State since 1987.

The main purpose of his visit was to connect with Seattle’s Irish community and also to launch Irish Network Seattle, a new Seattle-area chapter of Irish Network-USA (www.IrishNetwork-USA.com).

When Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowan was in Washington, DC, in March, he announced the launch of Irish Network USA., to enable Irish people to take advantage of the great opportunities to be had from networking with one another. Irish Network Seattle will be part of that framework. For more information, visit www.IrishNetwork-Seattle.com.

Irish Ambassador Michael Collins was in Seattle on June 8-9 and over the course of the two scheduled-packed days, he was busy representing Ireland and meeting Seattle’s Irish community at speaking engagements, luncheons and receptions.

After the last of the June publication was distributed, yours truly made a flying trip to Seattle to take in the last night of the ambassador’s visit. Ambassador Collins was honoured at a reception at F X McRory’s restaurant along with his lovely wife Marie.

The ambassador was also accompanied by Gerry Staunton, Consul General of Ireland for the Western United States based in San Francisco.

John Keane the recently appointed Honorary Consul of Ireland for Seattle and Washington State, was kept busy arranging the itinerary for the ambassador and introducing him to the Seattle Irish community.

Serving as honorary consul is only one of the many hats that John Keane wears. He is involved in just about everything that is Irish in Seattle and he knows the Irish community on a personal basis – you could say that he is the green pages for the Seattle Irish community, he is also known as Mr. Ireland.

When Ambassador Michael Collins spoke at the full house at F X McRory’s restaurant, it was very clear that he thoroughly enjoyed his visit to Seattle and meeting the many Irish in the community. It was also very evident from the long lines of people who waited to shake the Ambassador’s hand and have a few words with him that the feeling was mutual.

The ambassador spoke about the 70 million people who claim Irish ancestry in the United States. He said, “to be the Irish Ambassador anywhere is a great honour, but particularly to the United States.”

Speaking with John Keane about the ambassador’s visit, he said, “the ambassador was delighted with his visit and he accomplished the main reasons for his visit.

“He didn’t have a free minute. We had meetings with Washington Governor Christine Gregoire in Olympia, he met with the World Affairs Council, and had a meeting with the editorial board of The Seattle Times.

“He visited the university and spoke with the faculty and students, attended an Irish seniors luncheon, and a business seminar on the Microsoft Campus.

“He attended a reception with members of the Seattle Irish community. Really, Ambassador Collins did not have time for any sightseeing tours as his schedule was so tightly packed with activities.”

The Seattle Irish community will long remember the visit by Ambassador Michael Collins. I had the distinct feeling that it will not take another 23 years for the next Irish ambassador’s visit to Seattle.

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