Friday, March 13, 2009

Éirinn go Brách

I was fortunate to attend the annual St Patrick's Day reception held by the Irish Embassy in Seoul at the invitation of my friend Karen. It was held at the swanky Grand Hyatt high atop a hill in Itaewon with a great view of Seoul.

As you might expect at such an event, the Guinness was free and free-flowing, though it was served in 6 oz pilsners. Indeed, a centerpiece of the event was this ice sculpture of the "Guinness" harp:

ice sculpture at St Patrick's Day reception
The festivities were officially opened around 7:00 by Ambassador Conor Murphy, following the playing of the Korean and Irish national anthems; his remarks were political, mostly condemning the recent terrorist actions by an IRA splinter group in Northern Ireland, which are re-igniting fears of a return the violence that wracked the country a decade ago. Here is Karen with the Ambassador:

Karen and Conor Murphy
After that, the cellowrap was removed from the food platters and the feasting began. There were lots of choices, from lamb sausages to chicken in vinegar to delectable salmon, but my favorite had to be beef in Guinness, which is a classic Irish stew. The desserts were plentiful as well, but the chocolate raspberry tart in the second photo below had to be the best.

food table at St Patrick's Day reception
dessert table at St Patrick's Day reception
We also met several interesting people, from Korean trade officials to consular reps., including the lovely ladies below, from Germany and New Zealand (that's me in the middle):

new friends at Irish Embassy reception

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