Ireland marked its Expo 2020 Dubai National Day on Thursday (17 March), featuring cultural performances throughout the day as part of the country’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai, and Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, Executive Director, Expo 2020 Dubai Commissioner General Office, welcomed His Excellency Darragh O’Brien, Ireland’s Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali said: “With a design inspired by the Newgrange Monument, the Ireland Pavilion delivers 5,000 years of Irish heritage, literature and know-how to Expo 2020 Dubai, and invites visitors to explore the country as an unrivalled place of inspiration and creativity.”
“The UAE is proud of our prospering relations with Ireland, and believe that Ireland has much to offer to us and to the world as a regional leader in SME (small- and medium-sized enterprises) innovation and knowledge diffusion, as well as a significant hub for technology and investment. We are confident that we will be able to build on our existing connections, and look forward to mutually beneficial collaborations between our two countries.”
HE O’Brien said: “It is a special honour for me to extend Ireland’s congratulations on your ‘Year of the 50th’, which draws to a close just as we in Ireland are preparing for the centenary of our state. We have admired the enormous strides forward which the UAE has achieved over that half century, with the emergence of Dubai as a major international hub offering connectivity on a truly global scale.
“Ireland has further developed our already great connections with Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. These have flourished both through exciting programmes at our pavilion and most importantly through great collaborations with our Expo partners, which helped to deliver such memorable events as Riverdance at Expo and the Expo World Choir.”
The speeches were followed by a culture performance that opened with Amhrán Mhuínse, a sean-nós song performed Síle Denvir who hails from Galway in the west of Ireland and plays the harp, Ireland’s national symbol, which is also inscribed on UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Cormac Begley was next on stage, performing a set of traditional tunes from south-west Kerry. To close, the Friel Sisters and Cathal Ó Curráin from Donegal performed a set of Irish traditional jigs and reels that featured Uilleann piping.
Throughout the rest of the day, celebrations will include a musical performance in Al Wasl, curated by the National Concert Hall and led by world-renowned fiddler Martin Hayes. This will be preceded by a march led by Irish Defence Forces Pipers, and site-wide events including storytelling, sports activities and a Guinness World Record attempt for the most nationalities taking part in a fitness class.
Located in Jubilee, the Ireland Pavilion shows the country as a place full of inspiration, ingenuity, imagination and innovation. The country’s long, deeply rooted heritage flows through the pavilion, and can be followed in the 360-degree projected exhibition of Ireland’s story.
National and Honour Days at Expo 2020 Dubai are moments to celebrate each of Expo’s 200-plus International Participants, shining a light on their culture and achievements and showcasing their pavilions and programming.
Ireland’s Expo 2020 national day falls on St Patrick’s day, first organised by Irish activists to promote the Irish language and the cultural identity of the Irish people. St Patrick’s Day has been an occasion for sharing the country’s rich culture with the world ever since.
Running until 31 March 2022, Expo 2020 invites visitors from across the planet to join the making of a new world in a six-month celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture.