posted on February 16, 2008 03:13
St Patrick’s Day means it must be Irish Ball time again. Since St Patrick’s Day falls on a Monday the annual party will this year happen on Saturday March 15, at the Kerry Centre Hotel. Festivities begin with cocktails at 6pm. To ensure punters get full value for their RMB1,000 tickets there’ll be free flow of Guinness and Jameson whiskey all night.
Organisers of the Ball (a sell-out affair for the past five years) the Irish Network China
is flying pub-rocking quintet Kif
to ensure the crowd gets its fair share of U2, Van Morrison, the Pogues and other danceable Irish gems. From Galway city on the west coast of Ireland, Kif will play a lengthy set once the dinner, speeches and auction are over.
A menu of Gaelic cuisine for the night has been created by Beijing-based Irishwoman Catherine Toolan, who in her day job heads up the operations of Aramark, the international catering group which will be particularly busy feeding athletes and VIPs at the Beijing Olympics.
Cash from the Ball goes to Jinde charities, a Hebei-based community charity which, among other things, helps poor families pay tuition fees. Last year a battle of bids yielded RMB50,000 for a landscape oil painting by Irish artist Paul Christopher Flynn. "That’s a lot of school fees," says Joe Loftus, Irish Network China committee member and Jinde volunteer.
There will be other jolly green frolics in China's capital to mark Ireland's national day. St Patrick’s Day also means parades – Dublin and New York have the world’s biggest and best known - of leprauchauns, ceili dancers, Gaelic footballers and anything remotely Irish. This year Beijing will get one too. A March 16 parade of (Chinese and) Paddies down Wangfujing will mark the beginning of an Irish cultural festival running from 16 March to 6 April. The Irish Embassy and Tourism Ireland are the main organisers.