Serving as ambassador was highlight of Rooney's life

PITTSBURGH — To Pittsburgh and Pittsburghers, Dan Rooney was known best as the owner of the Steelers. But his legacy reaches across the Atlantic Ocean to Ireland.

When President Barack Obama nominated him to become U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, Rooney called the opportunity a thrill and said it was honored.

His son said being ambassador was something his father always cherished.

“It was really I think the highlight of his life,” said Art Rooney II. That’s something I don’t think he ever thought would happen so when it happened he was really honored to represent our country in Ireland.”


Rooney brought football with him, adding a football field to the grand ambassador’s residence and hosting Fourth of July flag football games.

Irish President Michael Higgins tweeted Thursday, “Thanks to his contributions and those of others, many projects prompting peace and reconciliation in Ireland were initiated, leaving a real and tangible legacy.”

President Obama said Thursday that Rooney surpassed his high expectations while serving as ambassador.