Gabriel Byrne has worked tirelessly for the Irish community, wherever it may be. His commitment to the arts has led him to serving as Cultural Ambassador for Ireland, supporting the Irish Arts Center in New York City by word and deed, and participating in honoring Irish artists, such as William Butler Yeats and Seamus Heaney, whenever the occasion arises. He is a true citizen of Ireland, but his notion of “Ireland” extends far beyond the borders of that green isle.

And now, today, he is recognized for his commitment. Mr. Byrne is one of ten activists and artists to be awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad for 2015. The announcement was noted in The Irish Post:

Announcing the awards today, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan said: “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to these remarkable individuals for what each of them has contributed to Ireland, to the Irish abroad and to our country’s international reputation.”

He joins an exalted international company, including writer Mario Vargas Llosa, who, “by writing The Dream of the Celt, opened up the story of Irish national hero Roger Casement to the 650million Spanish and Portuguese speakers around the world,” and attorney Gareth Peirce, who has represented a number of high-profile cases, including the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six.

The official press release from Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade notes:

The Presidential Distinguished Service Awards recognise those who have served Ireland with distinction and those who have actively contributed to Ireland in a sustained manner. The Awards were established by the Government following the 2011 Global Irish Economic Forum. Nominations are made by Irish communities abroad through Ireland’s global network of embassies and consulates general.

To be reminded of Mr. Byrne’s accomplishments, you can read about his work as Cultural Ambassador and his many activities involving the Irish Arts Center of NYC.

Here, in an excerpt from his interview for the DVD of Capital, he talks about art and why it is so important to our lives and to our cultures:

Congratulations, Gabriel Byrne! heart


  1. Congratulations Mr. Byrne! Your advocacy work as Cultural Ambassador has made a difference in our awareness and appreciation of the vibrant and cutting edge Irish contemporary arts scene. And your remarks about art in the video are bang on.

    Angelle from Canada

    • I agree with you, Angelle, about the “cutting edge Irish contemporary arts scene.” For me, though, Mr. Byrne has opened up avenues to the Irish literary and artistic past as well. I guess he has one foot in the past and one in the future, as all great artists do… :-)

      And yes. That video is absolutely bang on. And unrehearsed, I think. Lovely!

  2. Congratulations to Gabriel for this very well deserved award!
    He did a great job as Cultural Ambassador for Ireland.

    Ireland has so many talented writers and artists and Gabriel Byrne is one of them, but he also knows how to show the world other talents from Ireland. Ireland has so much to offer!

    Nora from Norway

    • Nora, yes!

      Re: my comments above about the past and the future, I would also say that Mr. Byrne has two places in his heart: Ireland, of course, but also the USA. It is wonderful that his work for the Irish community, wherever it may be, is recognized. One quote I saw referred to his contribution as “sterling service.” Indeed! <3

  3. Isabel Margarita Gandarillas

    Congratulations to our hero. It was meant to be.

  4. Dora Baralia

    It is a great emotion to receive this video and hear him talking about the Art of his country, each day my admiration grow up for this man and actor who represents Ireland with a deep feeling and knowledge in all his forms he is deserving of all his titles. All my congratulations …

  5. Michelle Ayala

    That was a deep speech from Gabriel and I congratulate him for his dedication to Theatre and the arts in any form.

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