It’s time for some Gaelic fun and games

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It’s time for some Gaelic fun and games

While St. Patrick’s Day is on March 17, festivities surrounding this most famous Irish holiday kick off on Saturday as part of the fifth Irish Festival in Korea.
For many Koreans, St. Patrick’s Day is still foreign and new, with the festival’s history being only four years old. To introduce the holiday to young Koreans, there will be an event, “Korean Youth Irish Festival Day,” on Saturday in Myeong-dong.
But that’s just the beginning. The real action gets underway next week, in bars and on the streets, with musical events, parades and reduced-price drinks.
As in the past, this year’s festival will include a parade, starting at the south end of Daehangno at 3:30 p.m., on March 20. Following the parade, there will be traditional Irish folk music and informal Irish folk dancing at Marronnier Park in Daehangno, in which everyone can participate.
Throughout the festival, people will be able to enjoy various musical events, sports and games, according to the Irish Association, the festival’s host.
Participating in the festival, however, is not about just drinking and having fun, but also doing good things for others. All game proceeds from an event called “Irish Charity Quiz and Music Night” on St. Patrick’s Day will go to the Korea chapter of Amnesty International. Also, 10,000 won ($10) from each ticket to the “Guinness Draught Hooley” on March 19 will be donated to local charity and cultural events.
The festival has seen a growing number of Koreans taking part each year since 2001, and this year the Irish Association said it expects to see even more interaction between Koreans and foreigners.
So, wear something green and come out to take part in these fun and well-intentioned events. Here is the schedule:

Korean Youth Irish Festival Day: Saturday, from 3 to 6 p.m., in Myeong-dong. Features exhibitions of Irish folk dancing and music for young Koreans and foreigners ages 9 to 24, in the MIZY center in the UNESCO Building, 2nd floor.

Irish Charity Quiz and Music Night: March 17, 8:30 p.m., in Gangnam. Bilingual English/Korean quiz night with music by Seoul Ceol at the Dublin Bar and drinks at reduced prices. Special prizes will be given to all quiz participants. Proceeds will go to Amnesty International.

Gaelic Sports Day: March 19, at Dongguk University, from 2 to 6 p.m. Gaelic football and poc fada (individual hurling long shot competition) will be featured; with enough capable players an exhibition hurling match may also take place.

St. Pat’s Guinness Draught Hooley at O’Kim’s in the Westin Chosun Hotel: March 19, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Guinness beer and live band entertainment with traditional and modern Irish music as well as contemporary rock. There will be two live bands ― Seoul Ceol, playing traditional pub music, and Faded, featuring Irish rock hits. Ireland vs. Wales rugby match will be shown on a large screen television during the latter part of the party. Cost is 55,000 won per person for all you can eat and drink, with profits going to charity and future Irish events.

St. Patrick’s Parade: March 20, 3:30 p.m. (rain or shine) in Daehangno (Hyehwa station on subway line No. 4). Meet at 3:15 p.m. on the SNU Middle School grounds at the southeast corner of the entrance to Daehangno street. All are welcome to join the parade. Formal marching and performing groups include the Seoul Metropolitan Police Band, U.S. Army 2nd Infantry Division Band, and the Dongguk University nongak group as well as other university nongak groups.

Outdoor International Concert: March 20, from about 4 p.m., following the parade, at Marronnier Park located along the parade route, near Hyehwa subway station. It will feature Irish and Korean singers and dancers.
End of Festival Party: March 20, from about 6 p.m., following the concert, in Daehangno. Informal, pay-as-you-go party at the Daehangno beer restaurant Santana. Live Irish pub music will be performed.

by Choi Sun-young
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