A GROUP of Killarney students studying Chinese language and culture were given a golden opportunity to celebrate the Chinese New Year, courtesy of St Brendan's College.
The students, their parents, teachers and invited guests pulled out all the stops for their New Year celebrations at the Golden Chopsticks Chinese Restaurant in Killarney. As well as some traditional Chinese food the group were treated to an interesting account of the Chinese traditions that surround the most important festival in the Chinese calendar.
The New Year partygoers were also given an insight into the current 'Year of the Horse'. People born under this sign are supposedly fashionable and brimming with self-confidence. Famous people born under this sign include Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Halle Berry, Neil Armstrong and Cindy Crawford.
Among those to join in the revelry were Mayor of Killarney Paddy Courtney, President of the Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce Johnny McGuire and Yongbin Xia from the Confucius Institute in UCC, who has been facilitating Chinese studies at the school.
The interest by the school in all things oriental began in 2012 when students were offered the opportunity to learn Chinese. This year a cohort of 48 students have taken on the challenge. St Brendan's College also recently signed a twinning agreement with Lianshi Middle School, a Chinese co-educational school with 1,500 pupils.
Among those present at the Chinese New Year celebrations was student Eoghan O' Brien who was one of 11 students from St Brendan's to travel to Shanghai last year. Eoghan describes the trip as 'life changing'. A further eight students will take on a similar journey this Easter.
"Chinese is firmly established as a subject in St Brendan's College now. Our twinning with a school in Houzhou before Christmas will create strong links and bonds between the students in the two schools," Principal Sean Coffey said.