American Ireland Fund Gala makes a splash for St. Patrick's Day

| Sunday, March 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

There was nothing low-key about the American Ireland Fund Gala on March 15.

And why would it be?

On St. Patty's Day weekend, the scene inside the East Club Lounge of Heinz Field was reminiscent of that place where everyone knows your name. Added bonus: It could have been easily mistaken for a red carpet-worthy nod to fashion. No big surprise about the flashes of Kelly, emerald and lime greens, but there were some unexpected swan dives into the typically calm waters by way of shimmery open backs, silky pantsuits and cascading, fluttering sleeves.

Where to start?

Honoree David Malone had the luck of being surrounded by a bevy of beauties, including his wife,Nancy, and daughter, Cally,with sons Zach and Max adding in their two cents with the additions of Kristin Chick and Erin Kander.

As the space quickly swelled with 650 guests, radiance continued with the arrival of Greta Rooney (with ArtII, who also served as co-chair), Lacey Wellman (with Ben Minor), Beth Kelly, Jackie Hanna and Jaymie Lako, while VIPs including chair Sy Holzer, World Wide Ireland Funds prez Kieran McLoughlin, Ireland's minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, Gov. Tom Corbett and first ladySusan, the Hon. David and Dawne Hickton, Bill Isler, Michael Bartley, David andVanessa Morehouse, and Father Ron Lengwin made the rounds before the waters finally (and noticeably) parted to signal the arrival of former Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney, and his lovely Patricia.

Nixing trays of champagne in favor of pints of Guinness, the good mood got even better as glasses stayed in the air for the better part of the evening, with a cluster of “pubs” warding off any signs of dehydration. Onstage, Red Hand Paddy and Guaranteed Irish soundtracked the evening before a short intermission between acts allowed the Burke Conroy Irish Dancers to kick their way in.

A part of The American Ireland Fund's global philanthropic network that hosts events in 39 cities in 11 countries, the Pittsburgh gala supports the AIF's mission to promote programs of peace and reconciliation, arts, and education throughout the Emerald Isle.

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