A first for Ireland: A female ambassador to Washington

September 12, 2013

For the past 89 years, Ireland has sent a succession of charmers to serve as ambassador to the United States. This summer, the country continued the streak — with a twist — by appointing the first-ever woman to replace departing Ambassador Michael Collins.


Irish ambassador Anne Anderson, her daughter Claire Anderson-Wheeler, and French Ambassador Francois Delattre. (Marty Katz/washingtonphotographer.com)

Anne Anderson, who arrived in Washington two weeks ago, was welcomed Wednesday night at a reception at the Georgetown home of Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, who holds dual Irish and American citizenship and was the first female U.S. ambassador to Portugal.

“It’s a delightful, extra source of pride to be the first woman ambassador,” said Anderson, who’ll present her credentials to the president next week. “It gives me pleasure as an individual, of course, but also in what it says about modern Ireland and the strides we are making toward ensuring that women have their rightful place in the country. So there’s a little bit of personal pride — I won’t deny that — but there’s a real national pride in all of this.”

A crush of Irish-American VIPs swarmed to meet Anderson, 61, who served as ambassador to France and the United Nations before landing the top job in Washington. She’s single, but has a serious boyfriend in New York. But mostly, we wanted to know about that not-so-Irish name.

Irish Ambassador Anne Anderson and former ambassador to Portugal Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley. (Marty Katz/washingtonphotographer.com)
Irish ambassador Anne Anderson and former ambassador to Portugal Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley. (Marty Katz/washingtonphotographer.com)

“I think it’s Scandinavian via Scotland to Ireland — but I am talking about 200 years ago,” she told us. “That’s the family lore. I’m always encouraging Americans to explore the genealogy and family tree, and I haven’t done it myself. But my mother’s from Limerick and my father from Tipperary and they both go back for generations.”

 

 

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