The Princess Grace Irish Library and The Ireland Funds Monaco hosted an afternoon of music and singing in the presence of HSH Prince Albert II and His Children, Hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day.

The event took place on Wednesday as the following day His Serene Highness had an engagement in Ireland, to unveil a sculpture of his late mother Princess Grace in Newport, Co Mayo, a few kilometres from where Her grandfather was born in 1847.

The audience at the library enjoyed the display of talent by four harp students from L’Académie de Musique Fondation Prince Rainier III de Monaco, who regaled the audience with traditional Irish airs. They were joined by special guest from Ireland, the award-winning, traditional flute player Dr Fintan Vallely, former Academic-in-Residence, recipient of The Ireland Funds Monaco Bursary, who roused
emotions and had feet tapping to the melodies.

Dr Vallely’s work during his residency on the collection of over 1,000 Irish-American music sheets at the Princess Grace Irish Library has resulted in a comprehensive, online catalogue listing and ensures that the music collection plays an important part in academic research, while gaining thelibrary international recognition as a centre of cultural excellence for Ireland. On March 6 Dr Vallely was honoured with the highest accolade for contribution to traditional music in Ireland, a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by the Irish-language television provider TG4’s Gradam Saol.

Also present at the concert was the current Writer-in-Residence, Dr Gráinne Hurley, the spring 2023 recipient of The Ireland Funds Monaco Bursary, who is spending a month at the Princess Grace Irish Library writing her book on pioneering, American-born Irish writer Mary Lavin. Dr Hurley gave an insightful talk earlier this month about Lavin’s relationship with the iconic New Yorker magazine,
sourcing material from the first-edition and signed copies of Lavin’s books at the library in Monaco and archives of Lavin’s correspondence housed in other libraries including University College Dublin (UCD) Special Collections and the New York Public Library. 

After the concert guests were treated to apple cupcakes, decorated with shamrocks, made by pupils from the Lycée Technique & Hôtelier de Monaco and drinks by The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. and La Distillerie de Monaco.

Benefactor’s plaque unveiled

An unveiling ceremony in the presence of Prince Albert took place at the library to honour the late Mrs Paul Gallico for her invaluable contribution to the Princess Grace Irish Library as trustee.

Entrusted with the role by Prince Rainier III, Virginia’s dedication and passion for the library reached across almost forty years from the early germ of the idea and its inauguration in 1984 until 2017, when she stepped down from her role. She continued as Honorary Trustee until her death in 2022. Virginia Gallico was wife of the late writer Paul Gallico, whose book ‘The Steadfast man – A life of St
Patrick’ is on display at the library.

Her daughter Ludmila and grand-daughter Casmira Verkade were present at the unveiling. A bust of Irish playwright Oscar Wilde by sculptor Kees Verkade, Ludmila’s late husband, is on display at the library.