Culinary Delights and Social Impact – WIP hosts the 12th Annual Evening with Celtic Chefs

WIP hosts the 12th Annual Evening with Celtic Chefs


WIP was delighted to host our most enjoyable (and delicious) fundraising event on the evening of Wednesday June 5th on the roof terrace of LiUNA. Despite some very inclement weather, over 250 guests gathered to celebrate 30 years of the Washington Ireland Program and to honor Tim Driscoll, President of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC).

Our guests heard from Rep Richie Neal and Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason during the VIP Reception speaking program. Rep Richie Neal (a former recipient of the Spirit of WIP Award) remarked on the incredible impact that the Washington Ireland Program has had on the island of Ireland. Ambassador Byrne Nason thanked the WIP supporter community in Washington DC for their continued support for young people from the island of Ireland. (Both Rep Neal and Ambassador Byrne Nason will be providing work placement opportunities for the WIP Class of 2024 this summer.)

WIP Board Vice Chair Patrick McGlone presented the Spirit of WIP award to President Tim Driscoll. Patrick highlighted President Driscoll’s deep commitment to service and leadership for the IUBAC and thanked him for his ongoing support for the Washington Ireland Program. During his acceptance speech, President Driscoll remarked that he was proud to continue the IUBAC tradition of providing office space for WIP and accepted the award on behalf of his Union. WIP Executive Director Nicola Skelly closed the speaking program and highlighted that over 50% of the WIP Class of 2024 are on full scholarships this year, thanks to the generosity of WIP’s supporter community.

WIP’s VIP Sous Chefs included Rep Val Hoyle, Governor Martin O’Malley, author Alice McDermott and WIP’s Board. The WIP Class of 2024 put the ‘service’ into the Washington Ireland Program for Service and Leadership by volunteering at the event. Molly McCrory MC’d the speaking program, and Molly Gordon Boles and Justin O'Hagan kicked off the main reception with a beautiful musical performance. Guests and sponsors commented that they got a real sense of the WIP’s impact through meeting the Emerging Leaders from the WIP Class of 2024.

The Celtic Chef event showcased some incredible Celebrity Chefs who are based in the DC area including Chef Tracy O’Grady (Clarity) who has been a part of every single Celtic Chef event. Other returning Chefs included Niall Duffy (Two and a Half Irishmen), Caroline Johnston (Greenisland Bakery), Chef Matt Hill (Ruthie’s All Day), and Chef Alex Vasquez (RARE Steakhouse and Tavern). Our newest Celebrity Chef was Karl Durnin who joined us from the Irish Embassy.

Thank you to all the supporters and sponsors that made this event possible. Together with our Leadership Lunch with Secretary Clinton in early May, we raised almost $320,000 to support the WIP Class of 2024.


The Washington Ireland Program supports, inspires, and develops leaders from a wide range of communities and backgrounds who are committed to building a future of peace and prosperity for Northern Ireland and Ireland.

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