“Sexiest man alive? You betcha!" said Ambassador of Ireland Michael Collins, reading from the latest issue of Washington Life magazine. “I thought it was me,” he joked to his guests at the residence Monday night, “until I noticed they were referring to Gabriel Byrne.” Byrne recently launched the Imagine Ireland arts project at the embassy.
Last night’s event was in honor of the cast members of "The Cripple of Inishmaan," playing at the Kennedy Center tonight through Feb. 12. Written by Academy Award winner Martin McDonagh and directed by Tony Award winner Garry Hynes, the play follows the impact of a film crew's presence in a rural Irish town.
Hynes was the first woman to receive a Tony Award for directing, in 1998. “Ireland is a country with many problems,” she said, “but there is much to be proud of, and our culture is one of those things.”
Niteside caught up with some of the usual suspects at the party: Susan O’Neill, daughter of former Speaker of the House "Tip" O'Neill; former chairman of the National Democratic Committee Terry McAuliffe; journalist Rebecca Christie; forrmer Ambassador to Portugal Elizabeth Bagley and author/attorney Joseph Hassett, whose book "W.B. Yeats and the Muses" was recently published by Oxford Press.
Hassett enthusiastically relayed a story about a few of those muses, all of whom inspired Yeat's poetry. Yeats' career was fueled by romantic relationships, both real and imagined.
The story Hassett likes to tell the best is about the mother and daughter Yeats pursued passionately and simultaneously. “Both turned him down,” he said. No kidding.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg economics reporter Rebecca Christie also has a creative hobby -- she plays in an Irish band. “That’s what you do when you don’t want to talk about the debt ceiling any longer. It’s the perfect place for a treasury reporter,” she quipped.
We’ll drink to that!
Pictured above: Terry McAuliffe with Marie Collins