Hill began St. Patrick's Day with an address to the Los Angeles
City Council, then took part in the city's St. Patrick's Day parade.
Late afternoon was spent with the Irish-American Bar Assn. and at
meetings. Hill ended the night as honorary speaker at the Friendly
Sons of St. Patrick Dinner at the Beverly Hilton hotel.
Hill is always amazed at the turnout for St. Patrick's Day events
such as the parade, which draws about 25,000 annually, said Emily
Gutierrez, management analyst for the Los Angeles City Fire
Department, which coordinates the parade.
"It shows a tremendous amount of goodwill to Ireland," Hill said.
Formerly the chief executive of Power Corp., an Irish-based
development firm with offices in Beverly Hills, Hill was appointed
consul in 2001, an honor traditionally reserved for career
"I love it," he said of the job. "It's a very special honor to be
asked by your government to represent your country."
His job is multifaceted. It is his duty to be there for Irish folk
who get into any kind of trouble in America. He is a source of help
for those who have lost a passport or overstayed a visa. He assists
with arrests and deaths.
"It's an interesting job," he said. "It comes in waves."
He is also in charge of setting up visits with Irish dignitaries
coming to America. But above and beyond all else, his duty is to
promote Ireland, to be the face of Irish pride for the roughly
100,000 Irish-born people in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
"Finbar is the most wonderful ambassador for Ireland," said Cormac
O'Modhrain, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach
Resort & Spa, who has worked Finbar on several local and L.A.-based
events. "He embodies the charm and just the friendliness of the Irish
people. A more jovial and friendly individual you'll find hard to
And his wife makes the most phenomenal Irish soda bread,
O'Modhrain was born in Kildare County and moved to America for
work in 1991. He thinks everybody secretly wishes they were part of
an Irish community.
"It's funny how St. Patrick's Day brings so many people back to