The late Irish American tenor Frank Patterson sang for the Pope but he never realized he also did for North Korean political leaders.
State officials in the “Hermit Kingdom” learned to sing Danny Boy in English from a recording of Danny Boy sung by Patterson, which was provided by an Irish diplomat.
The diplomat, who was not named, is using a Dublin auction house to sell off numerous unwanted gifts he collected during his career.
A 12 piece cutlery set from North Korea was a gift to the Irish United Nations official who is now selling off his unwanted memorabilia from his time in office.
The Irish Times newspaper reports that the diplomat was in Pyongyang, the capital of the communist state, on a ‘mission-impossible’ to promote tourism.
He received a gift from his hosts of cutlery cased in a drab, faux-leather plastic and cardboard box and contains 12 settings.
In return, the Irish diplomat, according to the Irish Times, allegedly ‘delighted’ his hosts by giving them ‘two cassette tapes of tenor Frank Patterson’.
The tapes resulted in the North Korean officials learning to sing Danny Boy in English.
The paper reports that gift-giving is culturally important in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea which boasts a museum containing presents given by international leaders to the state’s founding father Kim Il-sung, and his successor and son, the late Kim Jong-il.
The Irish diplomat visited the International Friendship Exhibition which he reported is housed in ‘an underground building about as big as the Vatican’.
He saw a ‘whole train’ gifted to the Supreme Leader by Stalin and a cabinet full of Waterford Crystal sent by Irish socialists.
The North Korean cutlery is expected to fetch between $400 and $500 when it goes to auction in Dublin on May 29th.
Other unwanted gifts for sale will include a tapestry rug presented to the diplomat by Chinese Communist Party authorities in Hunan province and four silver coins, salvaged from a 17th-century Spanish galleon shipwrecked in the Caribbean.
Auctioneer George Gerard Mealy told the paper: “The vendor is still sorting through his storage and is likely to consign further unwanted gifts to future auctions.”
Frank Patterson singing "Danny Boy":