INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS
On July 4 2012, U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney and his wife Patricia celebrated American Independence Day and hosted at their Residence in the Phoenix Park in Dublin the Third Irish American Flag Football Classic. Over 2,500 guests were in attendance for the Independence Day celebrations.
Ambassador Rooney remarked “I have no doubt that the men who signed the Declaration of Independence would be amazed and proud to see how far the country has come. Their faith in democracy and that every person has individual rights to equality and freedom has become the touchstone of hope around the world.” This is Ambassador Rooney’s Fourth Independence Day in Ireland, he added “I have travelled all over Ireland – visited every county. U.S. confidence in Ireland’s economy has never wavered and our investment in Ireland’s future remains strong.”
To kick off the American Flag Football Classic, the game ball was delivered by four trained professionals who skydived from a plane overhead. The two teams, “The Phoenix Park Pirates” coached by Eddie Goggins and the “Dublin 8s” coached by Dan Rooney (the Ambassador’s son) underwent training for the past month. The Dublin 8’s took the title this year over the Phoenix Park Pirates, winning 44 to 37. Team rosters for the game included embassy diplomats and Marines, local Gaelic football, rugby and soccer players. Croke Park constructed an American Football field which included bleachers, American football posts and giant television screens for live coverage and play-backs.
Guests of all ages enjoyed hamburgers, hotdogs, red, white and blue cupcakes and other traditional American treats. The Kids Zone was a huge success with face painting, story-telling, science demonstrations and the giant inflatable slide.
Later in the evening, Ambassador Rooney travelled to Galway City in the West of Ireland. Celebrations kicked off when the Eyre Square Traders Association made a presentation to Ambassador Dan Rooney at the The Skeff Bar in Eyre Square. This was followed by an American Style Street Parade from Kennedy Park (Eyre Square) through Shop Street and finishing at the Spanish Arch. The parade included stilt walkers, antique cars including a 1926 Model T, the Hot 8 Brass Band, the Galway City Cougars Cheerleading Squad, scouting troups, the St. Patrick’s Marching Band and many others.
The celebrations continued to the Volvo Ocean Race Village, where there was live music performed by the U.S. Navy Band, The Ringtones Barbershop Quartet, and Frankie Gavin.
During a reception at the Global Arena hosted by the U.S. Embassy in association with Let’s Do It Global, Ambassador Rooney paid special thanks to the people and City of Galway for making the celebrations possible. He remarked “I am especially glad to be here in Galway to celebrate with you. This is a first for the Embassy – and we are happy to be here in the West and to celebrate July 4 with you and all the teams from the Volvo Ocean Race.”
After the reception everyone was invited outside to view a spectacular fireworks display set up music on Galway Bay FM over the Galway Bay.