Successful Irish Studies Fundraising Dinner at Parliament House

19 Nov 2013

Over 150 guests attended the Irish Studies Fundraising Dinner held at Parliament House on 1 November. Over $40,000 was raised to support the Chair in Irish Studies and the Global Irish Studies Centre UNSW (GISC), the only Irish studies centre in Australia.

It was a successful and memorable night with Mike Carlton, the Master of Ceremonies and after-dinner speaker, overseeing events with anecdotal flair. His Excellency Noel White, the current Irish ambassador spoke about the contribution the Irish have made to the formation of modern Australia and the deep need for the connection between the two countries to be understood, analysed and disseminated. The Chairman of the centre’s advisory committee, Dr Richard O’Brien, a former Irish ambassador, spoke about his work with the late Patrick O’Farrell to establish a chair in Irish studies and the deep traditions of UNSW in the field.

Professor Rónán McDonald, who was appointed as the inaugural chair in 2010 for a period of five-years, spoke passionately about the centre’s mission:

“We have a new momentum in our campaign to establish a firm future for the study of Ireland in Australian higher education. The Global Irish Studies Centre is the only academic centre devoted to the study of Ireland and the Irish in Australia. It exists thanks to the vision and generosity of friends in the Irish community, especially in Sydney, who raised money to appoint a Chair in Modern Irish Studies. We rely wholly on ongoing philanthropic support to keep up our important work in research, education and community engagement.”

Dr Gemma Clark, the centre’s post-doctoral fellow in Irish history, spoke about the transformative impact the centre has had on her life and work.

Guests were treated to wonderful entertainment with traditional Irish tunes played on a harp and fiddle. The night even ended in true Irish style with a group of guests in full voice around a piano.

For further information about the Global Irish Studies Centre please contact Claire Widmer at UNSW Arts and Social Sciences Tel: (02) 9385 0010 or Email: