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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 9 December, 2018

'It's great PR': Iconic Irish buildings are going red today to mark the start of Chinese New Year

For the past three years prominent buildings have been lit up to highlight the importance of the Irish Chinese community.

DublinSeesRed2 Source: SON Photographic

CIVIC BUILDINGS ACROSS the country are to be lit up by red lights to celebrate Chinese New Year tonight, in what’s been described as “great PR” for Ireland.

For the third year in a row, some of our best-known buildings will be illuminated this week to celebrate the Year of the Dog.

In Dublin, the Convention Centre, the Guinness Storehouse, the Mansion House, the National Concert Hall, and St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre will all go red.

Outside of Dublin, Cork City Hall, The Capitol on Grand Parade and One Albert Quay in Cork, CityNorth Hotel near Gormanston, Co Meath; Kildare Village; and Powerscourt Estate in Co Wicklow will also be taking part.

Dublin’s Chinese New Year has a number of events planned between this Friday and 4 March to celebrate the beginning of the lunar year. As part of the Year of the Dog, a number of events are planned that incorporate man’s best friend, including Tall Tail, a production in the Smock Alley Theatre, and dog life-drawing classes.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said that China is an important emerging market and one that Tourism Ireland is “committed to growing over the coming years”.

He told

“Chinese travel market biggest in the world – last year 70,000 Chinese tourists visited Ireland. Each year those numbers are doubling, so there’s rapid growth there.

The joint Irish-British visa scheme, introduced in 2014, is also a huge boost for Chinese tourists to the island of Ireland. Around 400,000 visit the UK each year, and the joint scheme allows people to “tag on a holiday in Ireland”.

In terms of lighting buildings up for Chinese New Year, Gibbons says that from a marketing perspective, it’s very important.

“We’ll be going over for a week in May to four cities – Shanghai, Beijing, Kengu and Hong Kong, meeting with tourism and diaspora groups.”

He said that showing those groups pictures of iconic Irish buildings turned red for their New Year is an important gesture – similar to how buildings around the world turn green for St Patrick’s Day.

“It’s like our St Patrick’s Day,” Gibbons says. “People travel in large numbers each year, and it’s great PR to have a number of our prominent buildings turn red.”

It’s a good PR story for us, and plays really well on social media in China that shows we’re keen to learn and keen to connect.

He said that they also work closely with Fáilte Ireland to ensure that the industry on the ground is “China-ready” in terms of language requirements and food requirements.

The Chinese tourism community spends in the region of €100 million a year, with the Giant’s Causeway, the Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College, the Chester Beatty Library, Powerscourt, Kildare Village, Newbridge and the Cliffs of Moher their most-visited landmarks.

You can see all the events that are planned for Dublin’s Chinese New Year here.

Read: ‘Better BBQ than Hong Kong’: The insider’s guide to finding fantastic Chinese food in Dublin

Read: Over 30 Irish buildings to light up to raise awareness of ‘one of the most painful conditions known to science’

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