The Irish Association of Korea extends a warm invitation to all Koreans and expats in Seoul to wear green and immerse themselves in everything Irish at a free St. Patrick’s Day Festival on Saturday.
The family friendly open-air festival, themed “An Irish welcome” or “Failte” in the Gaelic language, will feature live music and dance performances in a marriage of traditional and modern Irish culture.
This includes appearances by Irish rockers Sweet Murphy’s Fancy and The Strumpunks, traditional Irish musicians Ceoltoiri Korea and Celtic Asia, and a Korean dance troupe called Tap Pung, which is well-versed in the art of Irish dance.
People dance to a traditional band at last year's Irish Association of Korea St. Patrick's Day Festival in Sindorim, Seoul. (IAK)
Since 2000, the IAK, a nonprofit organization, has promoted the culture and history of Ireland in Korea by hosting events that are open to all nationalities.
“Ireland and Korea both have a warm and friendly culture, and the Saint Patrick’s Day Festival … is a way to showcase Irish culture … but more importantly, to extend a warm Irish welcome to all those who attend,” said IAK Public Relations Officer Shane Doyle.
“(It’s) a chance for everyone to come along and make great memories together, meet new friends from all over the world, and share wonderful experiences through a world class lineup of music and dance.”
Participants can get their faces painted with traditional Irish symbols, attend beginner’s Gaelic lessons throughout the day, play a classically Irish musical instrument, and watch demonstrations of Irish sports.
Fashion-forward attendees can participate in a fancy dress competition based on this year’s “An Irish welcome” theme, with a prize awarded to the best dressed adult and child.
Participants can also try their luck at winning return flight tickets for two to Ireland via Etihad Airways.
“(The festival) is going to be a fun, festive day. It is a chance for Koreans, Irish, and our friends from all over the world to come together to celebrate this global Irish day together,” said Julian Clare, the ambassador of Ireland in Korea, who will be attending for the first-time next month.
St. Patrick’s Day is the most significant national celebration of Ireland and the IAK’s festival is one of its biggest events. Now in its 18th year, it typically sees thousands of people attend.
Attendees will have the opportunity to experience the richness of the Celtic country’s culture and history from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the D-Cube City plaza in Sindorim, Seoul.
Following the initial celebrations, attendees can also head to The Hooley, an after-party event intended to raise funds for the IAK, which will feature a mix of live traditional and modern music. Admission is 10,000 won and it will be held at Club FF’s and Gogo’s 1 in Hongdae from 7 p.m. to 1 a. m.
By Sylvia Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)