Michael Flatley was honored at a prestigious event in Manhattan as he was presented with the Ireland US Council's Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Performing Arts, at their St Patrick’s Day lunch, in the Metropolitan Club.

The Ireland US Council's Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Performing Arts is presented annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to enhancing the economic relationships between the United States and Ireland. Michael Flatley was lauded as one of Ireland's most prominent ambassadors, enriching our culture through his promotion of Irish dance and music on a global scale.

Keynote speaker at the event, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said his performances and shows are filled with “unrivaled and unmatched excellence”.

Accepting the award, Michael Flatley, who received a standing ovation from the guests, said, “It is an honor to receive this award from the Irish-American community.  This very impressive gathering of people makes me so proud to be Irish-American and to have spent my life promoting Ireland globally.  It’s important that we continue to share our culture and to nurture the business relationships between Ireland and America.”

Flatley then played a stunning rendition on his flute.

Michael Flatley treats the Ireland US Council lunch to a performance.

Michael Flatley treats the Ireland US Council lunch to a performance.

Michael Flatley was also commended for his innovation and philanthropy work by CEO of Breakthrough Cancer Research Orla Dolan.

“Michael Flatley embodies creativity and innovation.  30 years ago, he changed the way we all felt about one of our oldest cultural traditions and he sparked a worldwide Irish dance phenomenon that has lasted to this day.  He also changed the way we felt about the place we could have in the world and a new confidence rose up in Ireland. 

“However, Michael's contributions extend beyond the realm of entertainment. His steadfast support for various causes, including Breakthrough Cancer Research for more than 12 years, is not often unknown.  His dedication to innovation and belief in creating a better future has not only changed the Irish dance world but has also helped to save countless lives.  Michael Flatley’s story serves as a reminder to dream, to dare, to disrupt, to change, and to believe we can all create a better future.”

Irish celebrity chef Darina Allen and Michael Flatley.

Irish celebrity chef Darina Allen and Michael Flatley.

This week Michael Flatley and his wife Niamh Flatley also hosted a high-profile dinner at the Rockefeller Centre for Breakthrough Cancer Research, Ireland’s leading cancer research charity, with New York business leaders.

Flatley’s entry onto the world stage began when he toured with The Chieftains but he shot to fame in 1994 when 300 million people worldwide first saw his groundbreaking performance and creation of Riverdance, which transformed Irish dancing forever.  Flatley continued to innovate, captivating audiences with Lord of the Dance, which broke box office records all over the world, Feet of Flames, and Celtic Tiger, pushing the boundaries of performance art. 

At the event, Flatley was also acknowledged for his talents that extend beyond the stage; he is a skilled flutist, a former boxer, an actor, a producer, and an artist who has redefined the art form with his innovative footwork.

Founded in 1962, the Ireland-U.S. Council is regarded as one of the foremost organizations building communications between business, political and opinion leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.