Over the past two decades, the Chinese community in Ireland has grown from a small group of IBCs (Irish-born Chinese) to a huge and diverse community of people, both of Chinese heritage and Chinese migrants. Many Chinese people arrived during the Celtic Tiger period in search of education and business opportunities, and have remained in Ireland, making their own unique mark on Irish society and culture.
Nowhere is this unique mix more celebrated and vibrant than during the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival. Held each January/February over the Chinese New Year period, the Dublin CNY Festival is now in its fifth year and will ring in the arrival of the Year of the Dragon in 2012 from January 20-February 3 with a packed schedule of events that includes a Chinese market, traditional dragon dances, craft fairs, lectures and seminars, Chinese opera performances, a film festival and even a table tennis competition.
Also known as “Spring Festival”, Chinese New Year celebrates the lunar new year and is the main annual Chinese holiday (something like Christmas in the West). Typically celebrated with family and friends over the course of a month, Chinese New Year is a colourful celebration filled with exotic dances, unique foods and time-honoured traditions.
Among the main events at the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival this year, the free Asia Market Chinese New Year Carnival is the place to be if you’re new to the event or just want to get a feel for what it’s all about. Taking place Sunday January 22 (Chinese New Year’s Eve) in Meeting House Square in Temple Bar, the carnival will include a traditional dragon dance, martial arts performances and workshops, karaoke, costumes and a welcoming speech by the Lord Mayor of Dublin. There will also be plenty of stalls where you can pick up a few traditional Chinese crafts, like chopsticks and fans, as well as sampling some delicious Chinese fare.
Other events of note include the Film Festival, which will be held this weekend (20th-23rd Jan) at various cinemas across Dublin (click here for listings).
For more information on the Dublin Chinese New Year, including listings, be sure to visit the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival website.
Additionally, if you’re looking to sample some authentic Chinese food in Dublin, there are a number of excellent options along Parnell Street and Capel Street, both of which have begun to form an unofficial Dublin Chinatown. Particularly excellent is Charming Noodles (105 Parnell St.; +353 (0)1 872 9340 ; web review), which does (surprise!) fresh, tasty and authentic noodle dishes, from soups to fried noodles.
Finally, we’ll leave you with this lovely little taster video: