In the quieter confines of Yarralumla where parking is the biggest problem for guests at diplomatic soirees, the farewell for Ambassador of Ireland Noel White and his wife Nessa Delaney was a traffic jam, indicating that this couple is absolutely one of our favourites and as much as we hate goodbyes, we came to say one and we really hope we’ll see them back one day.
We will miss the eclectic mix of events that have occurred at their little piece of Ireland centred around everything from cricket to rugby, St Patricks Day and James Joyce’s mighty Ulysses taking us on that famous Dublin journey on Bloomsday, to their famous dinners and for me catching White and his mates on the golf course. There’s usually music to get the toes tapping and interesting friends, colleagues and VIP guests. They’ve welcomed so many of their Irish friends and relatives, made new arrivals feel very at home and on one occasion sent a happy bunch of footballers to visit White’s brother’s pharmacy in Ireland.
Their hospitality is legendary and Noel White’s speeches eagerly anticipated. He has a way with words, self deprecating humour and a wonderful wit. And then there’s his lovely wife Nessa. Always a friendly welcoming face, a great support for Noel, and a doting mum who encouraged her boys to not only help out at their events but to spread their wings and find experiences in the hospitality industry in Canberra.
Nessa is posted to Brussells, where she’s been for the last six months while Noel rattled around the ranch, finding company with his many Canberra friends and surviving quite well. Nessa is taking the dog, Noel will become a frequent visitor and like so many diplomatic couples who cope with sharing the postings, will show us that it is not an impost on their lives but a new adventure.
Come back when you can you two....and bring the family, they’re almost Australian now!