February 7th, 2002

  • candai

Why I Love the Irish!

As I mentioned in another journal, I went to a press conference yesterday about the state of affairs in Northern Ireland, and got to meet the dual heads of state there. I then got invited to a reception yesterday evening, which was to celebrate the opening of the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington, DC - - the equivilant of an embassy for them, and the first of its kind here.

So I went to this reception, all timid. The offices were in the British Embassy building - this *beautiful* Art Deco, marbled place. Eventually I got to talking to people - - Sen. George Mitchell and Ambassador Haass are just as amazing in person as they seem in the media.

But what really got me were the Irish there! Just the warmest, most amazing people . . . and so hospitable!

At one point I ended up talking to who turned out to be the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister's staff, as well as the staff of the new bureau, and they invited me out to a late dinner with them!

This made me astonished and happy enough, but then I found out that Deputy First Minister Durkan, the equivilant of our Vice Pres (as well as various other government officials) would be going with us!

So little old me got to jump in the DFM's limo with everyone, and we went to a pub/restaurant in Georgetown called The Guards. We all had dinner and wine and whatnot, and I got to listen to Mr. Call-Me-Mark Durkan tell stories about Tony Blair's Calvin Klein boxer shorts, among other things. Gerry Loughran was there, along with a lot of other key players. Trimble was having dinner across the street, but I still saw him briefly.

So they all found out about my Bono obsession when a U2 song started playing at the pub, and Wesley (Durkan's personal secretary) started telling me that Durkan knows Bono, so if they ever talked me into coming to Belfast to visit, he would be happy to introduce me.

They all fell in love with my digital camera, so they all took turns getting great shots of the group . . . even a potentially-dangerous one of myself and Durkan, which I immediately promised never to publish.

At around 2am, we finally got up to leave, and I got to practice my continental "kiss-kiss" goodbye with everyone. When I got to Durkan, he did the kiss-kiss, then gave me a kiss full on the mouth, proclaiming me one of them! :) One of the staff members offered to hail himself and I a cab, but Durkan then conspiratorially whispered to me that I shouldn't share a taxi with that man, so I took the hint and taxied home alone.

For more information about their government, go here . . .
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I copied this from the @u2 website, which is a really nice site to bookmark and look through (www.atu2.com). Sounds like spiffing news!

U2 Game For Touring After Bowl
The Mirror, February 06, 2002

Paul Martin

U2 are set to hit the road again this year just two months after vowing to take a year-long break from the music business, I can reveal.

The rockers are planning a few live dates across the world as part of an extended leg of their Elevation tour. Bono was giving little away when we met at the Super Bowl in New Orleans this week but he admitted: "We are still hungry to play live and we have been talking about a few ideas. Performing to 78,000 fans at the Super Bowl was an incredible adrenalin burst and we would like more."

The stars broke all the records last year with their huge world tour which included live shows in America, Europe and a homecoming spectacular at Slane. They are now being tipped to announce a concert in the North after initially missing it out.

A group insider told me: "Anyone who thinks they have seen the last of U2 for a while should think again.

"They have been in discussions while here in New Orleans about the possibility of outdoor concerts this year. And they reckon they can fit it into the schedule.

"A concert in the North -- either in Belfast or Derry -- is one of the main priorities.

"Bono was upset they couldn't include a concert there last year but that's not to say he has ruled it out this time."

U2 could even add more concerts to their record-breaking run of dates in America after the Super Bowl.

The source added: "You've got to realise that there were 800 million people watching them on TV the insider added. That's a hell of a lot of publicity and they could probably sell-out another string of U.S. dates."

© Mirror, 2002.
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