Letters to the Editor
St Patrick’s Day Greeting from the Áras
13 March 2013
By Eamonn McKee
Irish Ambassador to Seoul
Please see below the President’s Saint Patrick’s Day Message which as you can see intriguingly
promises to enrich our celebrations culturally over the weekend; something to look forward to
from the Áras.
Yesterday we opened our Photo Exhibition at the Korea Foundation. In my remarks to guests, I noted that the great American photographer, Ansel Adams, once said that "A photograph is usually looked at - seldom looked into." I would encourage you to come to the Exhibition and not simply look at the photographs but look into them and the story they tell of lives lived in the long traffic of over 140 years between Ireland and Korea. The exhibition will travel to Ireland for a showing in the autumn which will be a nice counterpart to our celebration here of thirty years of diplomatic relations.
The Korea Herald has a very good article on the IAK’s Festival this Saturday; here. Follow all the Irish
action this weekend on Twitter @IrishEmbKorea and @IrishinKorea
All the best for now,
To Irish people everywhere and to the friends of Ireland around the world, I send my best wishes
for St Patrick’s Day.
The 17th of March is a day when we celebrate the life and memory of our Patron Saint, Saint Patrick. It is also a day when, with our wider Irish family around the world, we reflect on our shared past; celebrate the unique culture and heritage which make us proud of our Irishness; express solidarity with each other in our communities; and show our gratitude to all those who have been, or are being, of assistance to Irish people at home and abroad.
In his life, St Patrick faced many challenges and adversities. He did so with a great generosity of spirit, forgave readily and refused to succumb to fatalism or resentment. Like St Patrick, we are today living through our own troubling and testing times. We too have been called on to show resilience, fortitude and the wisdom to move beyond destructive cynicism and recrimination.Many people have undeniably been hurt by the crisis of recent years; today we should think of them
and reach out to them. I have in recent times witnessed across the country a great capacity and
determination to learn from the failures of the past and to craft with compassion, and in solidarity
with each other, a new version of our Irishness, of which we can all be proud.
Today we celebrate together a positive Irishness and take pride in the impact and resonance of Irish
culture and heritage across the world. We celebrate the creativity, community spirit and rich culture
for which we, as a nation, are recognised.
In recent days, I have invited to Áras an Uachtaráin some of Ireland’s best artists to demonstrate through conversation and performance the depth and breadth of our island’s cultural richness and its reach across the global Diaspora. Titled “The Glaoch” or Calling, the fruits of that invitation will be transmitted world-wide over the St. Patrick’s Day week-end. I hope it makes its contribution to our celebration of Irishness, both by those who come to visit us and by those Irish abroad wherever they are gathered.
Today we remember especially our Irish community abroad. We are richer for their stories and experiences and are grateful for their continued connection and contribution to the country so many of them still call ‘home’. 2013 is a special year here in Ireland; a year when we are reaching out to our many friends, family and connections overseas, inviting them to join us in a year-long celebration of all that is special about our country. The Gathering is a valuable opportunity to come together with our wider Irish community and enjoy a vibrant programme of events and festivals that will celebrate the best of Irish culture, arts, science, creativity, music, heritage and people.
At this time, we remember those Irish people whose peace-keeping and humanitarian work has brought
them overseas. We also remember those Irish citizens who have been separated from their homeland through involuntary emigration and may not be able to visit home this year. I wish you, in particular, a happy and fulfilled time in your new countries. When economic circumstances allow and should you choose to do so, I hope that many of you will return to live and work in Ireland once again. Your return will be one that brings much joy and content to your families and communities.
All Irish people, wherever they may be in the world and whatever their circumstances, are in our thoughts on this special day; a day when we celebrate our Irishness and rejoice in being part of a global family and community of whom we can be very proud. I wish all of you a very happy and peaceful St Patrick’s Day.
MICHAEL D HIGGINS
UACHTARÁIN NA hÉIREANN
PRESIDENT OF IRELAND
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