Dublin School of Mandarin Chinese (DSMC), Taiwan Center For Mandarin Learning in Ireland (TCML), and Taiwan Ireland Association (TIA) co-organized the Lantern Festival luncheon on February 5th at Ming Court Restaurant. The luncheon was sponsored by the Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) and the Taipei Representative Office in Ireland (TRO). Limited by the capacity of the restaurant, 150 guests in total attended the luncheon.
Ambassador Dr. Pierre Yang of the TRO, Irish Senator Gerry Horkan, Manager at Enterprise Ireland (EI) Alan Hobbs, and other distinguished guests were present. The Chairperson of DSMC Hsiao Ping Hsu along with other board members Evan Furlong, Tina Jan, Syue-Ping Ma, and Elizabeth Lin were also in attendance.
The luncheon opened with welcoming events that lasted for half an hour, including lantern riddles, OCAC’s giveaways of lanterns for the Year of the Rabbit, red packets, and calendars, and a Year-of-the-Rabbit costume contest. Syue-Ping Ma, an instructor at the DSMC, was invited to demonstrate the making of Spring Festival couplets. Under the lively atmosphere, Irish dancers performed the traditional Taiwanese folk performance of The Third Prince in combination with Irish Dancing, which captured everyone's attention. The Third Prince Irish dancers Scott Heffernan and Niall O’Callaghan were part of the team that recently won the Leinster Championships 2023; Scott also won fourth place in the solo championships.
After the welcoming events, First Secretary of the TRO Chris Tsai, on behalf of the OCAC, awarded DSMC and TIA a certificate of success in organizing the 2022 National Day activities.
Ambassador Yang took the opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year, emphasizing that overseas Taiwanese were lucky to enjoy cross-culturalism living abroad, celebrating two New Years in Ireland every year. He hoped that overseas Taiwanese would make good use of this advantage to contribute to the local society and their home country.
Hsiao Ping Hsu, Chairperson of DSMC, said he was delighted to have this opportunity to reunite with everyone after the pandemic. The pandemic did not separate us, but instead brought us closer, allowing us to cherish the opportunity of a reunion even more.
During the luncheon, student representatives from DSMC Jin-Ruei Liu, Celine Liu, Chevonne Liu, Patricia Lin, and Abigail Lin sent good wishes to the guests with auspicious phrases for the Year of the Rabbit and idioms from one to ten, and sang celebratory songs to wish all the guests a Happy Lunar New Year. In addition, student Dylan Furlong performed a well-known piece "Dance of a Golden Snake" on the concertina as well as a few Irish tunes, capturing the hearts of the guests.
At the end of the luncheon, Ambassador Yang handed out red packets to the guests. The event ended in a joyful Lunar New Year atmosphere, leaving wonderful New Year memories for overseas Taiwanese.