The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Ball, one of the Irish racing calendar’s most anticipated social events, took place in the stunning surrounds of The K Club in Straffan, Co. Kildare on Friday, 26th of June – the eve of the 150th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation was for the second consecutive year the beneficiary charity for this glittering event which raised an amazing €60,000 including a very generous donation of €20,000 from Dubai Duty Free!
The black tie ball began with a pre-dinner drinks reception, served in the elegant surroundings of Straffan House, the original house which now forms the hotel at The K Club. The assembled guests then walked through the manicured gardens, led by a marching band wearing horse head costumes and dancers dressed as mythical, Pegasus horses. The guests then made their way across the bridge, over the River Liffey to the Smurfit Clubhouse where a sumptuous four course dinner was served.
Guests came from all over the globe and included people from the worlds of business, entertainment and sport. In attendance were Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free and his wife Breeda, President of Dubai Duty Free George Horan and his wife Carmel, Vice President of Marketing Sinead El Sibai and her husband Jihad, Vice President of Purchasing, Saba Tahir and her husband Fazal and CEO of Jack & Jill, Jonathan Irwin and his wife, Senator Mary Ann O’Brien. TV3’s Anna Daly was MC on the night and she interviewed both Colm McLoughlin and Jonathan Irwin on stage.
An auction was then held in order to raise much needed funds for the charity with auction items including a VIP racing package to Ascot, courtesy of Dubai Duty Free, a trip to Dubai including a stay in the five star Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, and a painting by legendary rock and roller, Ronnie Wood. The Cahills and Cathu entertained the guests with some traditional music during dessert and later on guests danced the night away to the sounds of ‘The Bentley Boys’, the live band on the night.
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free:
“We were delighted with the success of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Ball this year and appreciate the support of the guests in the room on the night, many of whom gave generously. The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation is a worthy cause that benefits very sick young children and their parents. I am delighted that Dubai Duty Free has been able to get behind this fund raising event through our own Foundation.”
CEO of Jack & Jill, Jonathan Irwin:
“The evening was a fantastic night of fundraising and fun. Our sincere thanks to Colm McLoughlin and Dubai Duty Free for choosing our charity as the recipient of this wonderful donation. To put this amazing donation into context it will allow us to provide 3,750 hours of home nursing care for our very fragile babies throughout Ireland- a truly wonderful gift!”