March 14, 2022

S3E14: Dan Mulhall - Ambassador for Ireland & James Joyce

S3E14: Dan Mulhall - Ambassador for Ireland & James Joyce

Season III of Irish Stew concludes with our conversation with a very Global Irish citizen, Dan Mulhall, Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States and your guide to one of the classics of Irish literature through his recently published Ulysses: A Reader’s Odyssey.

Join us as we tour the world with one of Ireland’s top diplomats as he wields Ireland’s soft power and uses Ireland’s culture to open doors and strengthen ties.

And from one diplomatic posting to the next, he lugged one weighty tome, James Joyce’s Ulysses, a literary classic he’ll turn to repeatedly, finally writing Ulysses, a Reader’s Odyssey his highly personal guidebook through the novel’s often difficult terrain, highlighting central character Leopold Bloom as an “ambassador for our day.”

 We touch on Ireland’s ability to build bridges among countries, its seat on the UN Security Council as Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s border, the global admiration for Ireland’s peacekeeping forces, and telling Ireland’s story in the US to officials on both sides of the aisle, and always come back to how culture is Ireland’s passport to the world today.

Along the way Dan favors us with a reading from Ulysses paired with a passage from his book that explores that section.

 The episode ends with a special treat, part of the closing chapter of Ulysses, “Molly Bloom’s Soliloquy,” brilliantly performed by actress Aedín Maloney, well known for her interpretation of this piece.

NB: This episode was recorded on Feb 3, 2022 almost three weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sadly the hope of reducing the then building Ukrainian border tensions did not come to pass.

Dan Mulhall Links

Aedin Maloney Links

Dan Mulhall Profile Photo

Dan Mulhall

Irish Ambassador to the United States of America

Daniel Mulhall took up duty as Ireland's 18th Ambassador to the United States in August 2017. He was born and brought up in Waterford and undertook his undergraduate and post-graduate studies at University College Cork where he specialized in modern Irish history.

Ambassador Mulhall joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1978 and had his early diplomatic assignments in New Delhi, Vienna (OSCE), Brussels (European Union) and Edinburgh where he was Ireland's first Consul General, 1998-2001. He served as Ireland's Ambassador to Malaysia (2001-05), where he was also accredited to Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. In 2005, he was conferred with an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland for his work in connection with the Asian tsunami. From 2009 to 2013, he was Ireland's Ambassador to Germany.

Before coming to Washington, he served as Ireland's Ambassador in London (2013-17). During his time in Britain, he was a regular speaker on political, literary and historical topics at Universities all over the country, including at Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Durham, King's College London and the London School of Economics. He also spoke at the Oxford Literary Festival, the Newbury Festival, the Liverpool Literary Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. He was a regular speaker at the University of Liverpool's Institute of Irish Studies and is an Honorary Fellow at the Institute. Before departing for Washington, he was made a Freeman of the City of London in recognition of his work as Ambassador.

During his diplomatic career, Ambassador Mulhall has also held a number of positions at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including as Director-General for European Affairs, 2005-2009. He also served as a member of the Secretariat of the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation (1994-95) which was set up in 1994 in order to promote political dialogue between different political traditions in Ireland. From 1994-98, he was the Department's Press Counsellor and in that capacity was part of the Irish Government's delegation at the time of the Good Friday Agreement 1998.

Ambassador Mulhall maintains a keen interest in Irish history and literature. He is the author of A New Day Dawning: A Portrait of Ireland in 1900 (Cork, 1999) and co-editor of The Shaping of Modern Ireland: A Centenary Assessment (Dublin, 2016) and has made numerous contributions to books, newspapers and journals published in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Britain.

A keen advocate of public diplomacy, Ambassador Mulhall makes regular use of social media in order to provide information on the work of the Embassy, to highlight Ireland’s achievements and to engage with Irish communities and those with an interest in Ireland. During his time in Washington, he will provide daily updates on Twitter @DanMulhall and through regular blogs to be posted on the Embassy's website.

Daniel Mulhall is married to Greta and they have a daughter and a son.