Dumplings, dragons and 'year of the dog' - Ireland sees red for Chinese New Year
Ireland celebrates the Chinese New Year today with everything from dumplings to dragons.
China marks the dawning of the 'Year of the Dog' with Ireland joining in the festivities in recognition of the burgeoning Irish-Chinese population and surging trade links between the two countries.
Cork, the first Irish centre to twin with a Chinese city, Shanghai, will illuminate the new Capitol building and 97 South Mall in red to honour China's New Year.
City Hall has also invited the Asian community to join in the festivities with special events planned across universities, markets and Asian restaurants across the city.
“The central focus of Chinese New Year celebration is family which is a familiar theme to Irish people," Lord Mayor Councillor Tony Fitzgerald said.
"We are lighting up key buildings in the city on Friday to help our Chinese friends feel part of the large Cork family. The Irish people know what it is like to spend important occasions away from our families."
Dublin, like Cork, has seen a major influx of Chinese investment over the past decade with firms such as Huawei and BeingMate establishing outlets here.
One of China's most successful business families, the Beijing-based Kang family, now own and operate Fota golf course and the Kingsley Hotel.
In Dublin, the festivities will revolve around the famous Asia Market which opened in 1981 and is a focal point for Ireland's booming Asian community.
The Dublin Chinese New Year Festival will run until March 4 next.
This will feature a 'Dumpling Day' to honour the pride every Chinese family takes in the quality of their homemade dietary staple.
To honour the 'Year of the Dog' a special event has even been organised to honour mankind's age-old fascination with canines.
The author of 'The Curious History of Irish Dogs', David Blake Knox,will give a special lecture on the nine dog breeds native to Ireland and he will be joined by Dublin-based Chinese artist Angela Wang who will create dog drawings inspired by the lecture.
The event takes place in the National Library at 6.30pm on February 28.
Asia Market operators will also host a New Year 'Food Extravaganza' on Saturday and Sunday which is aimed at involving non-Asian people in the festivities and introduce them to local culinary specialities.
The Chinese Embassy are also getting involved in the party and are supporting a number of cultural events to celebrate art, music and history.
One of the highlights of the festival will take place this evening in Dublin's Convention Centre with the hosting of the Spring Festival Gala.
Presented by the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland, the event will feature a range of Chinese cultural events ranging from Shaolin Kungfu by the monks from Songshan Temple to the award-winning Zhengzhou Song and Dance Theatre.