The Spring Festival is the time to bid farewell to the old and usher in the new. On Tuesday 28th January 2014, the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland hosted a spectacular Spring Festival Gala in the National Concert Hall. It was the seventh Spring Festival Gala organised by the UCD CII to date.
The gala commenced with the Irish song Trasna na dTonnta by a choir comprising teachers from the UCD CII and students from Jesus and Mary College, Goatstown. The students followed this with a wonderful performance of the Chinese folk song Country Road, and impressed the audience with their beautiful Chinese.
During the Gala, the Confucius Medal was awarded by Minister Ruari Quinn to Mr. Hailin Sha for his outstanding contribution to Sino-Irish relations.Pictured are (R to L): Prof. Andrew J Deeks, UCD President, Mr. Xiaochuang Wu, the first secretary of the Chinese Embassy in Ireland, Mr. Ruairi Quinn, Minister for Education and Skills and Prof. Wang Liming, Director of the UCD Confucius Institute.
The Liaoning Art Troupe gave its debut performance in Ireland providing a wonderful occasion for Chinese communities and Irish friends to jointly celebrate the Year of the Horse. They brought the audience a variety of dazzling artistic performances including graceful dance, solo, duet and choral musical pieces, traditional folk music, thrilling Kung Fu, fascinating face-change opera and jaw-dropping acrobatics.
During the gala, the Confucius Medal was awarded to Mr. Hailin Sha by Mr. Ruairi Quinn, Minister for Education and Skills. Mr. Hailin Sha, member of the standing committee of the municipal committee of Shang City, head of the United Front department in Shanghai, was the Chinese ambassador to Ireland from 2002 to 2005. The official civic twining of Shanghai and Cork City and the promotion of the relationship between China and Ireland have been due in no small part to Mr. Sha’s wise counsel and active support. The Confucius Medal is to honour those who have made great contributions to China-Ireland relations, especially through communication and cooperation in education. It was awarded to Mr. Jinlong Guo, mayor of Beijing in 2011, and H. E. Mr. Declan Kelleher, Ambassador of Ireland to China in 2013.
The Year of the Horse is predicted to bring good luck and success to all. The 2014 Spring Festival Gala of Ireland featured top artists and professionals from China who performed with breathtaking virtuosity and passion. The blending of Chinese and Irish cultures brought a splendid feast to the audience’s eyes and ears and struck a strong note for the beginning of spring.