Mulhall tells of the United States he came to know as Irish ambassador

During a farewell visit to Boston in July, former Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall  was greeted in the State House by a group of Irish American legislators. Pictured are (l-r): Reps Gerard Cassidy, Dan Hunt, Kevin Honan, and Meghan Kilcoyne; Amb Mulhall; Reps Kate Hogan, John Lawn; Ireland Consul General Laoise Moore; Reps Ed Coppinger and James Murphy.

Photo courtesy Irish Consulate

Irish Ambassador to the US Daniel Mulhall completed his five year mission on Aug 10 and retired from Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs after a 44-year  diplomatic career. The following are excerpts from his farewell statement:

“I arrived in Washington from London in August 2017 and have now visited all 50 US States (I had been to Alaska and Hawaii as a tourist before 2017), witnessing the incredible diversity of America and the scale of Irish connections here. I have experienced Washington during the Trump and Biden Administrations, and with Republicans (2017-19) and Democrats (2021-) in control of Congress. I have met a range of fascinating people and learned a lot about America and what makes it tick.

Like my predecessors, I have been buoyed by the warmth that Americans display toward Ireland. All across the USA, I have met people who are deeply proud of their Irish heritage, which is often an important part of their American identity. Many Irish Americans possess a genuine admiration for, and affiliation with, Ireland. This unique liaison with the world’s premier power is hugely valuable for us.

It was a privilege for me to attend the inauguration of President Biden, the President with the strongest Irish heritage since John F. Kennedy. The president epitomizes the best of Irish America with his genuine and enduring affection for his Irish American upbringing, not to mention his enthusiasm for Irish poetry.

Our ties with the USA have considerable political value. Support for the Northern Ireland peace process in successive administrations and in Congress is bipartisan like few other issues.

I am sometimes asked to point to a highlight of my five years in the USA. I normally reply by referring to the opportunity I had to speak at a ceremony at Promontory Point in Utah in May 2019 to mark the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. My task that day was to pay tribute to the 12,000 Irish workers who labored for years in trying conditions to connect America from coast to coast. They and millions like them who made that perilous journey across the Atlantic, and on to America’s expanding frontier, created the bedrock on which our contemporary relationship with the United States is firmly and permanently rooted.

I now move to New York to teach at Glucksman Ireland House at NYU where I will strive to deepen knowledge of Ireland among students at that distinguished seat of learning.