Tag Archives: irish korean essay competition

Irish Korean Essay Competition has a new partner – Etihad Airways

The Irish Association of Korea is very proud to announce a new partnership with U.A.E. airline, Etihad Airways, for the Irish Korean Essay Competition. Etihad Airways are very happy to become partners of this very worthwhile competition which sees a Korean university student travel to Dublin to study English for one month in Emerald Cultural Institute, a leading Dublin English language school.


Etihad has an extensive network of connecting flights throughout Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia. Most important for the IAK, Irish people, and Korean people interested in travelling to Ireland, Etihad Airways recently established a connecting route from Dublin to Seoul via its Abu Dhabi hub.

The IAK look forward to working with Etihad Airways during the essay competition and in a number of other initiatives which shall take place throughout 2013.

Please visit www.etihadairways.com for more information on prices and their network.

Irish Korean Essay Competition Partners
Embassy of Ireland, South Korea www.embassyofireland.or.kr
Emerald Cultural Institute www.eci.ie
istowel Writers Week www.writersweek.ie
tihad Airways www.etihadairways.com

Irish-Korean Essay Competition 2012 – update

Thanks to all the applicants to the Ireland Korea Essay Compeition in 2012. All those who submitted entries should now have received an acknowledgement of the receipt of the essay from the Embassy of Ireland.

Due to some technical issues we have learnt that some essays were not received. If you have not received an acknowledgement from the Embassy please re-submit your essay as soon as possible and no later than 4 January 2013 to seoulembassy@dfa.ie copying iak.essay@gmail.com. If you have received an acknowledgement from the Embassy of Ireland then everything is ok and you don’t have to do anything.

Irish Korean Essay Competition, 2012 – Anniversaries

The Embassy of Ireland, Republic of Korea and The Irish Association of Korea,
in association with Emerald Cultural Institute,

proudly announce the

Irish-Korean Essay Competition 2012

for English as a second language university students in Korea.

Entrants are invited to make essay submissions on the subject of


Now accepting submissions* – final date for entries November 30, 2012 at 5pm

1st Place
Return flights to Dublin, four weeks study in Emerald Cultural Institute*, Dublin, and 2,000 Euro spending money (total value approx. 7,500,000 Korean won)

2nd Place
A cultural prize and cash to the value of 1,000,000 won

3rd Place
A cultural prize

4th Place
A cultural prize

5th Place
A cultural prize

For further details, please visit http://www.embassyofireland.or.kr or http://www.iak.co.kr/essay-competition

Continue reading Irish Korean Essay Competition, 2012 – Anniversaries

Ambassador’s Message, 19 March 2012

“I noticed with some trepidation the rain on Friday evening but come Saturday morning the sun was shining.  It augured well for the IAK’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival.  And what a day it was: by the reckoning of some organisers, the best one yet.  The amphitheatre at the D-Cube Plaza was full to capacity, its enfolding and steeply raked seats allowing not just an over-flowing crowd but a sense of intimacy amongst the large and cheerful Irish, ex-pat and Korean crowd.  The music and dancing was top class.  From spontaneous dancing by members from the crowd to organised dancing by practiced and first-timers alike under the expert direction and encouragement from Fr. Seán Connelly, the Festival was as we say, great ‘craic’.  The shopping mall provided plenty of food and beverages for the mingling crowd. People and family wandered from the venue to the shops and back again, stopping for some face-painting or buying the IAK’s t-shirts, all funds going to the Association’s fund raising effort in support of a monument to those Irish who lost their lives in the Korean war.

Many congratulations to the IAK and its volunteers for a memorable day.

We celebrated another IAK initiative, in cooperation with the Embassy and the Emerald Cultural Institute in Ireland (one of our premier EFL colleges), at the Embassy’s St. Patrick’s Day reception on Friday evening.  Along with IAK President Conor O’Reilly, it was my honour to award the prizes for our essay competition.  As you may recall, the competition involves third level Korean students writing an essay in English on some aspect of Irish Korean relations.

The following is an extract from my remarks at the prize-giving which will give you a sense of the quality of the winners and the value of the competition to Irish Korean relations.  I want to record my thanks to Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole, for sending a personal message to one of the prize winners who was inspired by his writing.

Whether you were with us or not at the Festival, I hope you had a great St Patrick’s Day and that you got the chance to catch up on some of coverage on RTE and in the Irish newspapers of the events around the world that celebrate Ireland, the Irish and the seventy million of Irish ancestry around the world.

Best wishes,

Eamonn McKee



IAK Ireland Korea Essay Competition – Prize Giving Remarks

To conclude this part of the evening, we have an important task.  We often reflect on the parallels in the historical narrative of Ireland and Korea.  We think about contemporary influences less so.

Thanks to the IAK, working with the Embassy, I can tell you about a new initiative that inspires just that.

Towards the end of last year the Irish Association and the Embassy announced the inaugural Irish-Korean Essay Competition for university students in Korea.

One of the challenges we face as a small country positioned on the far side of Europe is simply increasing knowledge of Ireland amongst Korean students and highlighting Ireland as a leading location for study abroad. This competition was designed to do just that by asking third level students to write an essay on the broad topic of connections between Korea and Ireland.

We were delighted with the results. Over 100 entries were received and each one of them gave us a valuable insight into how Ireland is viewed from Korea and indeed what information is available about Ireland to Koreans.

From comparisons between the stone walls of Jeju Island and the Aran Islands to the author who conducted an online survey of knowledge about Ireland among his or her friends, the essays were imaginative, informative and of an exceptionally high standard.

It was a tough task to narrow down the winners.  As one of the judges, I can attest to that! But after a short list was put together by the Irish Association, the final panel of judges came to agreement.

Most of the winners, I’m pleased to say, are with us here this evening.

5th prize winner: We have five prizes to award, starting with Ms Yun Chae Young, who wrote on 

Freedom, Creativity and Harmony-that Korea Should Learn: Irish Street Arts and Culture.

I loved this essay. Ms Yun’s descriptions of the buskers and street performers of Ireland are truly evocative and made me miss home! In one particularly poignant scene she describes seeing a picture of an old man teaching the harmonica to a young girl at the world Fleadh in a relaxed meeting between old and young.  I’d like to invite Ms Yun up to the stage to receive her certificate, some reading and a voucher to spend on a few more books to keep up her interest in culture.

Ms Yun, I do hope that you continue your interest in Irish culture – maybe at some stage Seoul will host an event like the Street Performance World Festival which has brought much excitement to Dublin and Cork over the past couple of years.

The winner of fourth prize wrote a piece that reflects on the complementary traditions of waking the dead in Korea and Ireland. Ms Nam Ji Hyun who wrote on The Wake’: A Window for Viewing Ireland and Korea, spoke of the festive funeral: when the relatives and friends of the person who has died can share a meal and a drink to celebrate their life and ease their passing. Ms Nam is unfortunately unable to be here this evening but we will make sure her prize and certificate gets to her.

Third prize goes to Ms Choi Min Jeong for her essay: Exclusion and Revival of the Indigenous Language of Ireland and Korea.  Many of the essays we received referred to the shared histories of Korea and Ireland as colonies of a neighbouring power. No other essayist drew on the social, historical and cultural circumstances and similarities in such a critical and thematic manner.

Ms Choi’s decision to focus on the manipulation of language, both by coloniser and colonised, marked her out as dedicated student of post-colonial literature as well as very well informed on the histories and cultures of our respective countries.

It gives me great pleasure to ask Ms Choi to join me and receive her prize of a book voucher of 250,000 Won and some additional reading. I have no doubt that you have many books you have your eye on and the voucher will be well spent.

Now we come to the final two prizes.

Both these essays are particularly strong but ultimately we had to choose a winner, and so second prize goes to Ms Paek Jung Won for How Korean Women may learn from Irish Women.

The issue of gender equality is a work in process across the globe. I do not think that any country, including our own, can claim to have got it right yet. Discussing the issue openly is absolutely critical to making progress. It takes courage and conviction to do this. Ms Paek has used the space provided by this competition to speak about the situation in Korea.

Ms Paek recognises that whilst the government sector should facilitate and encourage change, Korean women must challenge the status quo. If I could invite Ms Paek up to the stage to receive her certificate, her reading and cash prize of 1 million Won.

Before you step down I must tell everyone that Ms Paek was influenced in her writing by Fintan O’Toole of the Irish Times. I am delighted to say that Mr O’Toole has sent her a message of congratulations – He says:

“ Warmest congratulations on your splendid essay.

Real friendship between countries is not just a matter of polite expressions of mutual regard. It is about the capacity to learn from each other’s experiences. Perhaps even more importantly, it is about the way comparisons help us to understand, not just the other culture, but our own.

Your essay is a fine example of these ideas at work. Korea and Ireland do indeed share important experiences as small countries overcoming underdevelopment, coping with the legacy of conflict and seeking to balance change with identity. Korea’s successes can give hope to Irish people in our current difficulties. It is lovely to know from your essay that a young Korean woman can find some inspiration in the courage and strength of the Irish women who have fought for equality and respect. If all Korean women have the insight and passion you show in your essay, you will be a formidable force for change.

Warmest regards,
Fintan O’Toole”

Finally, we come to our winner. Ms Ro Seong Ja, who wrote a beautiful and imaginative essay named Barley – A Story of Resilience.  Ms Ro weaves a tale of the personal and the national experiences of both Ireland and Korea and brings a new perspective to the relationship between the countries. She begins with the smell of malted barley in the air around the Guinness Brewery in Dublin and then moves to her grandmother’s kitchen in Korea where the same smell comes from the Me-jew: bricks of boiled barley and soy beans which form the basis of Korean sauces.

I had not realised how integral barely was to both of our nations.  Our national drinks – Soju and Whiskey, share this as a main ingredient. As Ms Ro tells us, we both have used barley in times of need – in Korea to get through the lean season and in Ireland as a hardy supplement during famines.  It was also a handy food for the rebels of 1798.  Our Noble Laureate, Séamus Heaney, wrote inspiringly of the dead rebels lying in the fields, the barley in their pockets eventually springing to life.  Our songs too often sing of wind-swept barley. It now seems to me that simple barley is a redolent symbolic and cultural connection between Ireland and Korea.

Unfortunately, Ms Ro cannot be here this evening as she is currently studying in France but her sister has come to collect her prize on her behalf. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Emerald Cultural Institute, one of Ireland’s top class language institutes she will spend a month studying English in Ireland, at I may say an extremely advanced level. She will also receive 2 million Won to facilitate her stay in Ireland. I am delighted to be able to give this prize to you as Ms Ro’s representative.

My thanks to the Irish Association of Korea and to the Emerald Cultural Institute for making this competition possible. We hope that it will run successfully for many years into the future.

The fact that all five finalists were female shows the essay competition to be at least one area where women are actually ahead.  My only hope, in the interests of gender equality, is that next year a man might make it into the final five. I hope Korean men are up to the challenger.  Maybe we could have a man write in support of gender issues!

Thank you and Happy St Patrick’s Day.”

Inaugural Irish-Korean Essay Competition Winners Announced!

The Irish Association of Korea, and the Embassy of Ireland, South Korea, in association with the Emerald Cultural Institute, Dublin, are very proud to announce the winners of the inaugural Irish-Korean Essay Competition for university students in Korea. The competition raised awareness about connections between both Ireland and Korea. The lucky winner receives a month long opportunity to study at a leading Irish language institute. Second prize will receive a sum of money, while the remaining Runners up will also receive cultural prizes.

Details of the Competition

The competition was administered by the Irish Association of Korea, a non-profit organization which actively seeks to promote Ireland and all that falls under the banner of ‘Irishness’ within Korea, and supported by the Embassy of Ireland in Seoul. The competition was designed to highlight Ireland as a leading location for study abroad, and as a unique and fascinating cultural destination.

Conor O’Reilly, the chairman of The Irish Association of Korea and a lecturer in Kyunghee University, explained that the closest and strongest bonds which exist between Korea and Ireland are between the people and their own personal experiences. “There are stronger connections between Irish and Korean people than you may think” he explained. ” More and more Korean people are connecting with Ireland on a personal level, and it is because of these individual connections that Korean people and Irish people are developing a stronger affinity together”, Mr. O’Reilly explains.

“The topic for the Essay competition was quite vague – deliberately – to allow essayists to show their creativity as well as their language and research ability. “

The first prize winner ‘How Korean Women may learn from Irish Women’ is a thought provoking piece on social change in two very different but traditionally socially conservative societies. I am proud that the competition provided a space for such topics to be discussed” said judges for the competition.

It is through this inaugural Irish-Korean Essay Competition in Korea that the The Irish Association of Korea and the Embassy of Ireland in South Korea sought to strengthen these personal ties by offering Korean university students the special opportunity to experience Ireland first-hand, and to develop their own relationships with Ireland.

Winning Essays

  1. How Korean Women May Learn from Irish Women
    Paek Jung Won
  2. Exclusion and Revival of the Indigenous Language of Ireland and Korea
    Choi Min Jeong
  3. ‘The Wake’: A Window for Viewing Ireland and Korea
    Nam Ji Hyun
  4. Freedom, Creativity and Harmony that Korea Should Learn: Irish Street Arts and Culture
    Yun Chae Young

Irish-Korean Essay Competition Shortlist Announced!

The Irish Association of Korea and the Embassy of Ireland in South Korea, in association with Emerald Cultural Institute, are proud to announce the shortlist of ten candidates in contention for winning the inaugural Irish Korean Essay Competiton.

This competition commenced in October of 2011, and final entries were received on November 30, 2011. Since then, over 110 entries have been independently and anonymously read, assessed and judged according to strict criteria.

Full details of the competition can be found here.

Today, after much deliberation, we are happy to release the shortlist of candidates in line for winning the grand prize of one month study in the Emerald Cultural Institute in Dublin, plus spending money.

Congratulations to all entrants who have made it to the shortlist stage of the competition!

Due to a continued policy of anonymity so that the final judging process remains impartial, the essays can only be referred to by title.

Irish Korean Essay Competition – Shortlist

  1. Freedom, Creativity and Harmony that Korea Should Learn: Irish Street Arts and Culture
  2. Transition Year: Opening Yourself up to Dreams
  3. My Favorite Children’s Song and Ireland
  4. ‘The Wake’: A Window for Viewing Ireland and Korea
  5. Partnership Beyond the Commanality
  6. Barley – A Story of Resilience
  7. Make Ireland Maze Island
  8. How Korean Women May Learn from Irish Women
  9. Exclusion and Revival of the Indigenous Language of Ireland and Korea
  10. Ireland and Korea, a Step Forward

Winners will be contacted on Friday, February 17th, and following this the full details will be posted on both websites of the Irish Association of Korea and the Embassy of Ireland.

Each competition entrant has already been contacted directly in relation to their submission. The judging panel regret that no particular comment can be made in relation to any essay. We would like to thank all entrants for their submissions and we encourage all eligible entrants to try again in 2012.