The Korea Herald


St. Patrick's Day set to return to Seoul

By Korea Herald

Published : March 9, 2016 - 18:56

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As the weather warms up, a little early spring greenery is set to grace D-Cube in Sindorim, Seoul.

The Irish Association of Korea will be holding its annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival at the center’s outdoor amphitheater on March 19.

“It’s a big festival aimed at spreading Irish culture throughout Korea,” said IAK public relations officer Oisin Feeney. 

Revelers attend the 2015 Irish Association of Korea St. Patrick’s Day Festival. (IAK) Revelers attend the 2015 Irish Association of Korea St. Patrick’s Day Festival. (IAK)

“We have a bunch of acts confirmed for the day and they will all be playing Irish-themed music. It’s a family-friendly event. We’ll also have face painters and a couple of other tricks up our sleeve. The whole point of the day is just to get everyone out there having a good time.”

Music onstage will come from traditional Irish performances, such as Ceoltoiri Seoul, a group of musicians from around the world, and Jigs and Reels, a Korean group playing Irish traditional music.

“It’s always nice when you see people from so far away keeping our culture alive,” Feeney said.

A U.S. Army band is also scheduled to perform, before some Irish rock from Gan Ainm, Boss Hogwon and Sweet Murphy’s Fancy.

“The festival starts out with traditional Irish music and then we will go in a bit more of a rock direction as the crowd gets a bit bigger and a bit happier,” said Feeney.

Besides music, Irish food will be available for sale and there will be a raffle for return tickets to Ireland among the prizes, and awards for the best dressed child and adult in the “Put the Green On” competition.

The last three bands will also be among the bands playing at the hooley, a party at the Rocky Mountain Tavern in Itaewon after the main St. Patrick’s Day festival.

The hooley is split across two floors, with the rock acts upstairs, and Ceoltoiri Seoul and other more traditional acts on the lower floor. But Feeney said he expected both floors to be packed.

“Our hooley is usually absolutely black with people ... It’s impossible to move. You can just about get a pint of Guinness in,” said Feeney.

But he pointed out that sponsors Guinness and Magners had arranged for cheaper prices – 4,500 won and 3,500 won respectively – so that a pint of the black stuff would be cheaper than anywhere else in Seoul.

The hooley acts as a fund-raiser for the IAK’s activities – principally two big events a year. The association also organizes other activities to support Irish culture, including a recent video contest in which Korean students could win tickets to Ireland and take language classes there.

“You’d be surprised at some of the videos I’ve seen,” Feeney said of the entries. “These Korean kids are bringing up ancient Irish mythologies that I wouldn’t even know myself.”

The festival is free, but the hooley costs 10,000 won to get in. For more information, visit
By Paul Kerry (