Viet Nam News
Every year on the 17th March, Ireland and its people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland’s National Day. With up to 70 million people around the world having Irish ancestry and many more friends of Ireland, it’s quite a celebration.
Over 10,000 Irish visitors come to Việt Nam each year we have a growing and vibrant resident Irish community in both Hà Nội and HCM City. Wherever Irish people travel, they bring with them their love of literature, music, dance and sport.
There are active Irish football (Gaelic Athletic Association) clubs in both Hà Nội and HCM City with women and men’s teams made up of Irish, Vietnamese and international players and an active schools’ league in Hà Nội which includes training and development outreach with disadvantaged children. The work of the Viet Celts Gaelic Football Club, which runs a fantastic youth development programme in partnership with the Blue Dragon Foundation is a great example of the contribution of the Irish community to life in Hà Nội.
The growing collaboration between Vietnamese and Irish higher education institutions, and the human bonds forged by the ever greater number of Vietnamese students who are choosing to study in Ireland are immensely promising for the future of relations between our two countries. The Vietnam Ireland Alumni Network in Việt Nam are great Ambassadors for both Ireland and Việt Nam, deepening and enriching the connections between our two nations, to allow them to grow and flourish on a foundation of mutual understanding and appreciation.
Ireland and Việt Nam have much in common. Both of our cultures have their roots in ancient civilisations renowned for the value they have placed on scholarly learning, spiritual cultivation and the arts.
Cultural exchange between Ireland and Việt Nam is thriving, with artists and photographers exhibiting around Ireland and Việt Nam in 2016. Last September Việt Nam’s Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Lê Khánh Hải, visited Ireland for a cultural event in Dublin to mark the 20th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries. In November, during the State Visit by the President of Ireland to Việt Nam, the Embassy of Ireland, with the support of Việt Nam’s Ministry of Culture, hosted a performance of Irish traditional music and dance. We were enormously honoured to host President Trần Đại Quang and Madame Nguyễn Thị Hiền during this memorable evening.
St. Patrick’s Day each year is a highlight for the promotion of Irish culture. This year, we are delighted that St. Patrick’s Day has become a three day festival in Việt Nam, with events organised by the Irish community in Hà Nội and HCM City. We will welcome a group of young musicians ‘Half Strung’ who are joining us especially from Ireland for the celebrations. They will take part in the St. Patrick Rocks Music Festival at the American Club on the 17th of March and from there travel to HCM City for a celebration of all things Irish in District 2 on Saturday, the 18th of March.
Ireland’s Global Greening initiative is now a firm feature of St. Patrick’s Day around the world. Hundreds of iconic landmarks, such as the Empire State building and the Great Wall of China, ‘go green’ to celebrate Ireland’s national holiday. Here in Việt Nam, the Irish Embassy is delighted to have the support of the Hà Nội People’s Committee to have the first ever ‘greening’ in Việt Nam in Lý Thái Tổ Park on Saturday, March 18. We hope that families in Hà Nội will join us for a fun evening of Irish activities with the support of the Centre for Social Development Studies. For details of the events, please visit the Embassy of Ireland’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/irishembassyinvietnam.
On this day, when Việt Nam joins Ireland and the world in turning green, I want to wish all of the friends of Ireland in Việt Nam a very happy St. Patrick’s Day, or as we say in the Irish language, Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig. — VNS