The cultural relationship between Ireland and China is of long standing. The traditional music ensemble“The Chieftains” were among the first foreign musicians to visit China after the reform and opening up and laid the ground for a continued rich collaboration between Irish and Chinese musicians. The most well known Irish cultural presence in China in recent years has been the phenomenon that is Riverdance.
Irish culture is presented through exhibitions and performances throughout the year. There is a particular focus of activity in the period around St Patrick’s Day (17 March) which in recent years has included musical performances, Irish dance and St Patrick’s Day Parades in Beijing and Shanghai.
A number of award winning Irish writers and poets have visited China in recent years, including: Colm Tóibín, Colum McCann and Sebastian Barry. Several classical and traditional musicians and musical ensembles, including the Vanbrugh String Quartet, the Dublin Chamber Orchestra, and the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra with Derek Gleeson have given performances in China. Visual artists have also exhibited widely in China.
The Irish Government supports Irish arts worldwide through a grants programme administered by Culture Ireland; please see that organisation’s website for details of funding available.
In 2007 Beijing Foreign Studies University established an Irish Studies Centre and the Irish language, an official language of the EU, is now being taught at that University.
In addition to those events arranged by the Embassy, the Embassy is prepared to help in the promotion of Irish linked cultural events; please send details to the Embassy.