On Monday 7 January, 2019 I announced the appointment of five Cultural Ambassadors to assist in and enhance the promotion of Ireland in the global arena under the Government’s Global Ireland 2025 initiative.
Master musician and founding member of The Gloaming, Martin Hayes, leading architects, Shelly McNamara and Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects, awarding winning actress Ruth Negga and Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon have all accepted the role of Cultural Ambassador for a period of three years.
The Cultural Ambassadors will endeavour to raise the public focus on arts and culture as a means of promoting Ireland globally, provide advice and input on strategic cultural initiatives and participate in key events and projects. The first such event is a conference of cultural stakeholders being held on 24 January which will discuss and debate how best to advance Ireland’s global visibility and strengthen global relationships.
Further appointments of Cultural Ambassadors may be made over time in line with the Government's geographic and other priorities.
Yvonne Farrell is originally from County Offaly. Yvonne, a graduate of UCD, is a co-founder with Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects established in 1978. Both, Farrell and McNamara, are Fellows of the RIAI (Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland), and International Honorary Fellows of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) and elected members of Aosdána. Grafton Architects are winners of numerous international awards including the World Building of the Year Award 2008 for their building for the Universita Luigi Bocconi in Milan, which is widely acclaimed and recognised as a seminal contemporary work. They are currently working on the commission to design the new Marshall Building for the London School of Economics, the new School of Economics for University Toulouse 1 Capitole; the new Town House Building at Kingston University London; and the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter Project – The New City Library in Dublin.
Farrell and McNamara were the curators for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, the first Irish architects ever to have been awarded this honour.