With over 1,000 Irish people living in Korea right now (the bulk of whom are teachers) it is no surprise that we have built quite a strong community here in Seoul.
The not-for-profit organization which helps form a big part of this community is a very active group of hard-working, creative and passionate people who take pride in promoting Ireland and all thing Irish in addition to creating strong ties between Ireland and South Korea.
Founded in 1996, The Irish Association of Korea (IAK for short) promotes Irish culture in Korea by organizing events of interest to Irish people in Korea, and that are opportunities for Koreans and other people living in Korea to experience and learn more about Irish life. Among other events such as informal music gatherings and a now annual Ceili, it organizes the annual St. Patrick’s Day festival in which 1,000’s of people come along to celebrate all things Irish on March 17th (or the weekend nearest!)
If you are from Ireland and new to Korea, I would HIGHLY recommend getting involved with the Irish Association of Korea. They actually have a “Welcome to Korea” event coming up in 2 weeks time where you can come along to an informal gathering in FreePort in Hongdae from 2pm until 4pm on Saturday November 2nd. It will be a great chance to meet some fellow Irish expats and to make friends, connect with home and learn about other Irish themed events and organizations that are active in Korea.
Another huge part of the Irish community here in Korea is the Seoul Gaels GAA Club. If you have just moved to Korea and miss playing for your club/team back home or if you live in Korea and would like to get active and learn how to play either Gaelic football or Hurling, this is the place for you! (If you don’t live in Seoul there are also active GAA clubs in both Busan and Deagu that you can check out.)
In related news, my good friend Shauna Browne of the wonderful “What a Waygook“ blog recently got elected as Chair of the IAK while I somehow managed to land myself a spot on the committee as the new Public Relations Officer. Wish us both luck! :)