Experiencing St. Patrick’s Day in South Korea’s Seoul

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St Patrick's Day, Seoul

When I think of March back home, I think of collecting seashells on the beach, Azalea flowers blooming, and of course the infamous St. Patrick’s Day parade.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Savannah, Georgia hosts one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the world. As a young girl, my father and I used to walk in the parade together, and throughout my college days, I always looked forward to coming back home for all of the festivities. Since I am in Korea this year, I am missing St. Patrick’s Day for the second time in my entire life! As Facebook erupted with pictures and status updates about this year’s activities, I could not help but feel a sense of nostalgia and longing to be back home.

Since there was obviously no possibility of flying home for the weekend, I decided I would attempt to create my own St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Surprisingly, Seoul is filled with Irish Pubs in every main district. Also, almost all the local 7-11’s sell Guinness.  I figured I would gather some friends together, wear a little green, and enjoy some authentic Irish food and beverages at one of these local establishments. Instead, to my astonishment, I found some much more rousing possibilities!


As I perused Facebook, I noticed a post about a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Seoul! I could not believe it! I clicked on the video, and a sudden wave of excitement and energy flowed through me as I watched the footage of last years’ parade. I found the website for the parade organization, and I discovered that this year they would host a St. Patrick’s Day festival. I figured it would be a small event, but I was still excited to experience something like this in Korea!

The Irish Festival was held in the D-cube Park in Sindorim. D-cube City is a new cultural complex in Seoul which hosts a Sheraton hotel, a stylish and modern shopping mall, an arts center, tons of fantastic restaurants, a character theme park, and 10,000 acreage of green space all in one location! The park was built as an outdoor auditorium, and it was the perfect venue for all of the performers. Here is a list of the scheduled acts:

St. Patrick’s Day Seoul 2012 Schedule:

12:30-13:00 US 8th Army Band

13:00-13:20 Introductory speeches by Irish Ambassador, Dr. Eamonn McKee and IAK chair Conor O’Reilly

13:20-13:50 Banu (traditional Irish group)

13:50-14:20 Tap Pung dancers (audience encouraged to join the Irish dancing)

14:20-15:00 Have No Name (Korean U2 tribute band)

15:00-15:30 Bard (Korean traditional Irish band)

15:30-15:45 Rince Dancers

15:45-16:00 Bard (Korean traditional Irish band)

16:00-16:30 Tap Pung dancers (audience encouraged to join the Irish dancing)

16:30-16:45 Banu (traditional Irish group)

16:45-17:20 Dara Sheehan (Irish contemporary)

17:20-18:00 Sweet Murphy’s Fancy (contemporary rock band)

I arrived at the festival around 3:00pm, and to my surprise the place was packed! The event was BYOB, so my friends and I luckily made it to the closest family mart before they ran out of beer (I heard rumors later that the near by stores all sold out!).  Most of the people in the crowd were foreigners, so it was quite amusing to watch my Korean friends’ reactions to the shenanigans. The music was fantastic, the crowd was super energetic, and overall I would definitely say that my St. Patrick’s day was a success!


Guest Post from Caroline Hosey from Savannah Georgia and now resides in Seoul, South Korea where she is teaching English.


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