The 2017 Irish Ball took place on Saturday the 18th March in the Shangri-La hotel, Kuala Lumpur. 900 Irish – and Irish for the evening – revelers attended under this year’s emblem of a conjoined Dublin Spire and Petronas Tower. That theme of place was worked into the table names in the ballroom with famous Irish villages in North Clare cheek by jowl with Malaysian tropical islands – paradises all.
Though the number of ex-pats in KL is reportedly decreasing, you wouldn’t have known that from the early-morning queuing for tickets in January. Some folks queued from 4.30am to secure their place at the ball and all tables were sold by 9am. An event of this magnitude requires a dedicated team and generous sponsorship and we are fortunate that St Pat’s society has access to a wealth of talent and open-handed sponsors. The end result was a sumptuously decorated ballroom with rare attention to detail, a band that delighted the crowd, and a well stocked bar that watered all participants well into the small hours.
The theme of the Irish ball in its ninety-second year was “Celebrating St. Patrick’s Society of Selangor”. The fine speakers later in the evening pointed out the cultural and economic contribution of the Irish in Malaysia, but the evening started in traditional manner with a free flowing champagne reception for the beautiful belles and handsome beaus. The high-energy crowd in the reception area needed no Blarney stone as excited and loud conversation got the evening off to a raucous start. It was like stepping into your local pub at Christmas time and augured well for the evening.
A pipe band ushered everyone toward the ballroom for the start of the formal dinner. The pipers were kept busy escorting dignitaries, seals of office, reverend sisters, and the diplomatic corp to and fro – which lent a rich color to the evening. Between courses we enjoyed Irish dancing along with a great rendition of the Saw Doctor’s “I Usta Love Her” by the Community choir and most of the crowd. After dinner entertainment was provided by The U2 Tribute Band and the Irish Rugby team to the delight of all… well most.
St Patrick’s Society is a community and the ball is a community celebration of all the values we consider Irish – friendliness, warmth, fun and a hospitality that wants you to feel part of the family. The use of the Petronas Tower and Dublin Spire joined by a bridge as the Icon for the ball was the perfect emblem. It encapsulated an Irishness shared the world over, whether your name is Murphy, Ming, Mayang or Mahindra.
Martha Tee and her committee were outstanding in their organizational skills and hospitality. The atmosphere they created made us feel relaxed and at home. Indeed we were so at home by the end of the evening that dinner jackets were strewn about, up-style hairdo’s were down, high heels kicked off and all that was left to round off the evening was the traditional Nasi Lemak for breakfast.
Thank you to all who made it such memorable night and I look forward to meeting all my Irish family next year.
Theresa Hogan Leahy
To view more pictures (over 2,000) and videos from the event please click this link: http://www.stpatsoc.org/uncategorized/2017-st-pats-ball-picture-and-video-links/