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March 12, 2010

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Green is the color as Irish Week kicks off, parade and all

SHANGHAI will be awash with green this weekend in a celebration of everything Irish when the city's St Patrick's Day celebrations get into full swing.

While St Patrick's Day officially falls next Wednesday, Shanghai's Irish community will kick off a weeklong celebration today, with an Irish music and dance performance on the Yandang Road pedestrian street.

Ireland Week will run until March 21 and is organized by the Le Cheile (Irish Community in Shanghai) together with the Irish Consulate General in Shanghai.

Tomorrow the 4th annual St Patrick's Day Parade will wind its way from Fuxing Park to the stage on Yandang Road and participants will include Irish dance troupes and brass bands from two of Shanghai's international schools.

"The Irish community in Shanghai promises to give the city a real taste of Irish culture during our St Patrick's Day celebrations and the Ireland Week. We urge everyone to make the effort to dress up, join with us and enjoy the craic (good time)," says Le Cheile President Eoin Murphy.

Celebrants include representatives from both the Chinese and Irish communities. Even the World Expo 2010 mascot Haibao will march in the parade.

Tomorrow's celebrations will culminate in the St Patrick's Day Ball at the Pudong Shangri-La Shanghai hotel.

Festivities will run until March 21 and will include a Shanghai International Literary Festival event dedicated to Irish writers and poets on St Patrick's Day.

Today the local Irish dance troupe Celtic Storm will entertain the crowd on Yandang Road starting 6pm.

The troupe is comprised of amateur Chinese Irish dance enthusiasts. Many began learning the folk Irish tap dance common in such well-known performances such as "River Dance" from watching DVDs of the dance form.

Also performing at the outdoor show will be the traditional Irish dance and music group Comhaltas and a band of Irish pipers.

Also tomorrow more than 1,000 people are expected to join in the parade, which starts in Fuxing Park at 10am.

Two Irish-Chinese dragons will dance their way down the parade and for the first time two giant-sized replicas of the warrior Cuchulainn and the hound of Culainn from ancient Irish mythology will tower over proceedings.

More than 5,000 spectators are expected to line the streets and the parade will arrive at the stage on Yandang Road at around 11am.

Also celebrating Irish culture is the Shanghai International Literary Festival which will hold a special St Patrick's Day event with Irish poets Elizabeth O'Donoghue and Billy Ramsell at 6pm next Wednesday at the Glamour Bar.

O'Donoghue is founder of the Live Poets Society and will read from her collection "Train to Gorey." Ramsell will read from his critically acclaimed collection "Complicated Pleasures."

Those looking for the pleasures of a cold pint or a drab of Irish whisky can find any number of the city's watering holes staging St Patrick's Day events.

The four major Irish pubs in the city, O'Malley's Irish Pub, Blarney Stone, Irishman's Pub and the Flying Fox in Pudong, will hold St Patrick's Day promotions during the week.

O'Malley's will hold a children's party tomorrow and have regular events including live Irish music and drinks promotions throughout the week.

The Irishman's Pub in Thumb Plaza and the Blarney Stone will also have a range of drink promotions and live Irish music throughout the week. The Flying Fox has an Irish chef serving authentic Irish cuisine.

Malone's American Cafe is also getting into the Irish spirit, offering 50-yuan (US$7.30) pints of Guinness and Kilkenny and 50 yuan for a double pour of Baileys Irish Cream and Jameson Irish Whisky until March 21.


Date: Today, 6pm

Venue: Yandang Road


Date: Tomorrow, 10am

Venue: From Fuxing Park to Yandang Road


Date: Tomorrow, 6:30pm

Venue: Pudong Shangri-La Shanghai, 33 Fucheng Rd


Date: March 17, 6pm

Venue: Glamour Bar, 6/F, 20 Guangdong Rd


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