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March 17, 2012

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Everything's green for St Patty's Day

SHANGHAI turns Emerald Isle green today as the annual St Patrick's Day celebrations will be held at Huaihai Park starting at 11am. But there will be no parade.

The city's family-friendly outdoor festival will feature food and drinks, live music, entertainment and certainly all things Irish.

When the event, organized by Irish Consulate General in Shanghai and the Le Cheile (Irish Community in Shanghai), kicked off in 2007, the city had an estimated 300 Irish. Today there are around 500 Irish living in the city, according to the consulate.

They are very active, particularly through Le Cheile, Gaelic Football Shanghai and the Irish Chamber of Commerce in China.

Since March 10, the Irish have been making their presence felt in Ireland Week, filled with activities leading up to St Patrick's Day and the family festival. The list includes Gaelic football, Irish food and drink (beers and whiskies), arts, education, literature and business.

The family day today is a highlight and the celebration winds up tomorrow with an hour of literary feasting - reading and discussion with two noted Irish writers, Eileen Sheehan and John W. Sexton, at the Irish Center.

"We are delighted to celebrate Ireland Week in Shanghai with the support of the municipal government. This is a thriving and multi-cultural city and the celebrations come at a time of increasingly strong relations between Ireland and China," says Austin Gormley, consul general of Ireland in Shanghai.

"The week will give the people of Shanghai a chance to see in person what Ireland and its culture is like. We hope it will encourage more people to learn more about Ireland and hopefully visit our green and friendly country," he says.

The celebrations come shortly after the visit to Ireland of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in late February. Xi made extensive contacts with Irish government and people, addressed business forums, met with Chinese students in Ireland and showed a bit of his Gaelic football skills.

Xi's visit sent a positive message about bilateral relations, especially in business cooperation. It is expected that a series of Irish delegations, including government and business figures, will visit China to sign various deals.

Around 1,500 people are expected to attend the celebration at Huaihai Park, running from 11am to 1:30pm. Entertainment includes marching bands, an Irish piper, Irish tap performances and traditional Irish songs. Children of the Irish Community in Shanghai will dress in traditional national costume and sing Gaelic songs.

The Irish pubs in Shanghai, such as the Irishman in Thumb Plaza and the Blarney Stone on Dongping Road, will keep the music going long into the night.

? Family Day Festival

Date: March 17, 11am-1:30pm

Venue: Huaihai Park, 177 Huaihai Rd M.

? Writers at the Irish Center

Date: March 18, 3pm

Venue: The Irish Center, Unit 203, Central Plaza, 227 Huangpi Rd N.

Admission: 25 yuan (including a drink)

For more details, check


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