In the late afternoon Thursday, severe storms swept through the Delaware Valley, threatening to put a damper on the planned launch party for Irish Network-Philly. IN-Philly is a brand-new organization designed to foster greater cultural, social and economic partnerships among its members and beyond.
The party was supposed to be held high atop The Phoenix at 16th and The Benjamin Franklin Parkway. But lightning and heavy rain kept the outcome in doubt until almost the very last minute.
The skies cleared around 5 p.m., and by 6, a large group of happy new IN-Philly members—business people, lawyers, judges, painters, theatre people, journalists, musicians, dancers and more—took the elevators to the roof for a night of connections (much business card exchanging), welcome cool drinks, superb Tir na nOg nibblies and fun. At the very top of the guest list: Irish Ambassador Michael Collins. (He almost didn’t make it: The storm held up his train from Washington.)
The idea was hatched around St. Patrick’s Day.
“Three months later, here we all are up on top of The Phoenix,” said Laurence Banville, a Center City attorney from County Wexford and president of the IN-Philly board. “We are rolling.”
IN-Philly is not intended to be a hard-core business network, but rather “a stoft type of network that leads to better things,” said Banville. He added that the network plans to reach out to the many existing Irish organizations to help bolster their efforts.
We have photos from the night. Click on the photo at upper right to view the slideshow.