The Irish Association of Korea
The Irish Association of Korea (IAK) is a non-profit voluntary organisation that promotes Irish culture in Korea by organising events that are interesting for Irish people and, at the same time, afford opportunities for Koreans and other nationalities to experience and learn more about Ireland and Irish culture. The Irish Association of Korea is made up of people from Ireland, Korea and elsewhere. There are approximately 900 to 1000 Irish citizens residing in Korea at any given time.
The IAK has been in existence since the early 1990's (formerly the Korea Irish Association) and has, over that time, hopefully raised awareness of Ireland and its culture. As outlined in this book, the IAK organises or helps fund many popular and unique cultural events, and aside from those mentioned already, there have been stand alone Rock and Contemporary Music Nights, Film Screenings, Book and Poetry Readings, Bilingual Quizzes, Fun Runs, Information Days, Competitions and general Get-Togethers. The IAK has also helped bring artists to Korea from Ireland, and welcomes and publicises events by any visiting Irish artist, as well as highlighting on its website things that may be of interest to the community.
The IAK is limited in how it can raise funds; therefore, some events also serve as fundraisers for the organisation. The biggest cost by far is the annual Saint Patrick's Day festival. The IAK is extremely grateful to all sponsors, however big or small, for any event. The IAK also acknowledges the support given by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and other public bodies.
Outside of covering the costs of events, the IAK, wherever possible, also try to raise money for charity (see War Memorial of the Irish Dead page).
The IAK would like to thank in particular, for its ongoing support, The Embassy of Ireland, and all those that have supported and attended events.
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The Current Committee
Chairman - Andrew Kilbride
Andrew is from County Longford in the Irish Midlands. He moved to Korea from Ireland in February 2011 with the intention of living and working here for a year, however he is still here loving Korean life more then ever. Andrew has been part of the IAK team since 2012 and he feels very proud and privileged to be the current chairman.
Public Relations – Sora Chai
Sora Chai is from Busan, Korea and is currently living in Seoul. She spent a year in Galway, Ireland as a full time volunteer of Simon Community, a homeless charity. While she was in Ireland, she loved to hang out with Irish people enjoying Irish culture and this has continued on her return to Korea. She also wants to introduce Irish culture to Korean people.
Secretary - Fiona O’ Rourke
Fiona O’ Rourke is from County Limerick, in Ireland. She came to Seoul in February 2013 and has been working here since. Fiona joined the IAK in late 2015 with the hope of developing a greater connection with the Irish community in Korea and, to support the promotion of Irish culture, in her adopted home.
Public Relations - Shane Doyle
Shane Doyle is from county Wicklow in Ireland. He has been living in Korea since 2010 and is glad he made the choice to work and live in Korea. He feels Korea shares many similarities with Ireland. His hope and aim is to work alongside others to bring people from Ireland and Korea closer together; to celebrate both cultures, and to create many more great experiences for Koreans, Irish and other nationalities.
The Committee of the Irish Association of Korea
The IAK holds an AGM and anyone of any nationality is welcome to be on the committee or to put themselves forward for positions.
Meetings are held throughout the year usually on weekends in the Business Centre on the 2nd floor of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Yongsan-gu, Seoul.
(Venue may change, so please confirm with the IAK secretary.)
If you would like to read minutes of previous meetings please also contact the IAK secretary.
Treasurer - Sujung Park
Sujungwas in Danyang and is currently living in Seoul. She fell in love with Irish culture and people while she was in Ireland for a working holiday program. After one year of living and working in Ireland she wrote a book,'아일랜드 워킹홀리데이 Ireland Working Holiday' with her friends. She joined the IAK after she came back from Ireland to enjoy and promote Irish culture to Korean people. She is very happy to be a part of the IAK commitee.
Advisor - Tom Coyner
Tom is from Oregon, USA. In 2001 himself and an Irishman called Des Scully were recruited by the Irish Embassy's Peter Ryan to help stage Korea’s first ever St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Tom later established the Irish Network Korea (INK) which evolved from a previous loose organisation in the 1990's called the Korea Irish Association. The INK in turn eventually became what we have today. Tom works as an independent family and commercial photographer.