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Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne present Irish Arts Center award to Bill Whelan

Grammy award-winner and Riverdance composer BILL WHELAN and philanthropist DOLORES McCALL were Friday night’s guests of honor at the Irish Arts Center’s 12th annual Spirit of Ireland gala at the New York Athletic Club. Patrons and Irish Arts Center Honorary Board Chairs LIAM NEESON and GABRIEL BYRNE presented the awards. The evening raised $500,000 to support programming in performance, exhibition and education at the Center.

The Irish Arts Center is New York’s premiere venue for Irish arts and culture, and every year celebrates the contributions made to the Irish and Irish American cultural community by leaders from the artistic and business worlds.

The emerald-studded evening was attended by over 350 supporters of Irish arts, including NY City Speaker CHRISTINE QUINN, granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin CARMEL CHAPLIN, actress FAMKE JANSSEN and actor TOM CAVANAGH.

Last year, the Center honored RALPH FIENNES with special guest JIMMY FALLON, and in 2009, honored philanthropist MAUREEN WHITE and CONGRESSMAN JOSEPH CROWLEY, with a special tribute to MUHAMMAD ALI.

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