Updated October 10

Saturday Panel

The video from the Saturday morning panel “Promoting Irish Culture,” with Ambassador Byrne, author Colm Tóibín, and comedian Dara O Briain, is only available at RTE until October 29, so hurry over and view it while you can.

A transcript of quotes from Mr. Byrne is in the works.

For an interesting spin on the proceedings, check the hashtag #globalirlforum in Twitter. There were lots of tweets during the two days of this forum, some live-tweeting from forum attendees and some caustic and often very funny comments from others. Worth a look!

The Global Irish Economic Forum in Pictures (of Gabriel Byrne, of course!):

Saturday Panel

President McAleese with Gabriel Byrne and former Chevron CEO David J O’Reilly

Gabriel Byrne, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, President McAleese, Hilary Weston,
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Saturday Panel

Larkin’ about Dublin Castle

Looking very presidential

Thanks to Detective Logan from the Byrneholics Forum for help with these great pictures!

Updated October 7

From The Irish Times, voices of the Forum [this article is now behind a paywall]:

Gabriel Byrne, Actor and Cultural Ambassador:

It’s easy to be cynical about an event like this, but if you look at what came out of the Farmleigh forum in 2009, it shows what can be achieved. What has been achieved in terms of promoting Ireland in the US this year is astonishing. It’s important to come together and ask questions in order to produce results that might not be immediately apparent but will make a difference in the future. It’s about the process. Arts and culture are not the answer to our economic problems, but we need to ask the right questions about how we can use this enormous resource to our advantage.

Reuters reports that the Cultural Ambassador for Ireland is at the Forum and he does indeed stand out in a crowd:

Byrne, with his dark glasses and silk scarf, stands out amongst the other delegates, drawn mainly from the suited-and-booted world of business.

But he believes Ireland’s cultural riches — its poets, writers, musicians and actors — are an important calling card for companies seeking a foot in the door overseas.

“I think artists lay out the carpet before businessmen, whether businessmen like to admit it or not,” he said, speaking in the courtyard of Dublin Castle.

“You can’t quantify the benefit of culture and art and drama and education in harsh, cold economic terms but in the long term there is no question about it whatsoever.”

“Without Yeats, Synge, O’Casey, Joyce, Heaney and U2, the profile of Ireland would be much, much poorer without those people.”

And this comeback to the question of flying first class is perfect:

While Ireland has become the poster child for austerity since tumbling into crisis in 2008, Byrne is not giving up his creature comforts.

Asked about his first-class flight from New York he replied:

“When Lenin came back from Finland to Moscow he took a first class carriage and when he got off at Moscow station someone said to him, ‘I thought you were a communist, should you not be traveling first class?’ and his answer was ‘There should only be first class.”

Mr. Byrne and Comedian Dara Ó Briain
attending the first day of the Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin
No scarf. No dark glasses. Sorry.


Updated October 6

RTÉ News provides the complete listing of attendees. [This link is no longer available on the Internet.]

Remember that the Saturday session, “Promoting Irish Culture,” with Mr. Byrne, Colm Tóibín, and others, is scheduled to be live-streamed at the wee hour (for those of us in the United States!) of 11:30 am Irish time.

Assuming the video is archived later, you can depend on seeing it here when it becomes available!

Interested in sharing your thoughts? We will be talking in the BH Forum.

Gabriel Byrne, actor, United States
(not to mention Cultural Ambassador for Ireland!)

September 30

The second Global Irish Economic Forum will be held at Dublin Castle on Friday and Saturday, October 7-8, 2011.

Mr. Byrne will be part of Saturday’s Panel Debate at 11:30 am on “Promoting Irish Culture: building on the progress since Farmleigh.” This session will be live-streamed! Also on this panel will be author Colm Tóibín.

From the Forum website:

The primary purposes of the 2011 Forum will be to:

* Engage fully with the Irish Diaspora in developing Ireland’s global business and trade relations;
* Discuss face-to-face the Government’s  priorities for economic renewal with key members of the international business community;
* Strengthen ties with the Irish Diaspora as a key part of the Government’s efforts to restore Ireland’s international reputation abroad.

Invitations issued to members of the Global Irish Network, which was established after the first Global Irish Economic Forum held at Farmleigh House in September, 2009.  The Network consists of over 300 of the most influential Irish and Irish-connected individuals abroad, all of whom have demonstrated a strong affiliation with Ireland and have a record of high achievement in international business or in assisting in the promotion of Ireland.

In addition to the Network members, a small number of senior Irish based individuals from the business and cultural worlds will be invited.  The Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Cabinet Ministers and senior representatives from Government Departments and State Agencies will also attend.

And, in addition to Cultural Ambassador Byrne, participants will be primarily Irish citizens from all around the world, and will also include President Bill Clinton. That will make two US presidents Gabriel has been hanging about with this year…


  1. Naomi Brady

    Hi there I was wondering if any of the regular public could go as I have a huge interest in this field having lived in Los angelus and Vancouver for a number of years ,having promoted our culture through networking in many different areas .In 2004 I had the great prilvidge of leading the Irish Womens Network of Canada in the first ever St Patricks Day Parade, Ive returned now living in Donegal where I continue to network with my connections in the states and Canada.I am doing a BA in Contemporary Culture and Society.This would be of great benifit to me in my studies.
    I look forword to hearing from you soon.

    Kind regards

    Naomi Brady

  2. Hi, Naomi. Thanks for your comment. If you visit the official website, it looks like an “invitation-only” organization and meeting. So, no, probably not open to the public. I hope they publish their reports this time around, though–looks like the website is ready for them!

  3. I am really looking forward to Saturday and I hope the streaming from the event will work.

    Ireland needs ideas how to get their art and culture known abroad, and I am sure and Gabriel and others can
    help with that.

    Ireland has so much to be proud of, not only Gabriel!

  4. Today I listened to some of the discussion they had in Dublin Castle. It was very interesting. The streaming worked perfect. Thanks to BYRNEHOLICS for the link!
    Looking forward to hear what they will talk about tomorrow when it concerns the possible role of the culture.

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