As part of the Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s visit to Ireland, his Excellency and his delegation paid a visit to one of Ireland’s most renowned secondary schools, Belvedere College, and enjoyed a special performance of Riverdance in the school’s O’Reilly Theatre.
Entering the college, headmaster of Belvedere College Mr. Gerry Foley stopped at the recently unveiled Confucius Classroom plaque and along with UCD Confucius Institute director Dr. Wang Liming, explained to Mr. Xi how their Confucius Classroom was set up and the importance of Chinese language and culture studies at his school.
Situated in the heart of Dublin City, Belvedere College S.J. is a school for boys founded in 1832. It continues today a tradition rooted in the Jesuit approach to education. The school currently has over 1000 pupils enrolled and has a number of famous alumni in the world of the arts, politics, sport, science & business, including such figures as James Joyce and former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald.
In 2008 Belvedere College worked with the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland to set up its Chinese Studies programme, and was one of the first schools in Ireland to pilot a Chinese language course in affiliation with the Institute. Originally as a supplementary course, and later running from 1st year onwards, more than 200 students have benefitted from the Chinese studies programme in the college. Belvedere College’s Confucius Classroom was officially launched on 18th November 2011.
The UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland has in 2009 and 2011 organised trips to China for the Belvedere students, and this year will see another group of 20 students travelling to China. During their trips, the boys have studied with Chinese students, explored the wonders of Hong Kong, Beijing and Xi ‘An, and have gained a unique firsthand experience of Chinese culture.