Letter from Korea, November 2011


Suwon, Korea
22/11/2011

Dear Ireland,

A few months ago I was elected as the new Chairman of the Irish Association of Korea. I suppose I had it coming to me. So, what about it?

The Irish Association of Korea has been around for over ten years and primarily seeks to promote Ireland and Irishness in Korea. We do have a few other mandates, such as fundraising for a memorial to honour the Irish who died in the Korean War, but essentially we try our best to promote Ireland as a country rich in culture which is distinct from the many other countries busy promoting their cultural identity in Korea.

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Letter from Korea, October 2011


Suwon, South Korea
20/10/2011

Dear Ireland

There are probably two moments in my life which I regard as life defining. Of all the moments which made a difference, the two most important really changed who I was and where I was going in my life. If I could be astute I could claim that they gave me a greater sense of purpose, allowing me to understand who I am more. One of these moments was coming to Korea. The other was the first time I heard The Stone Roses play. Continue reading

Letter from Korea, September 2011.


Suwon, Korea
23/9/2011

Dear Ireland,

You may not know this but Koreans are known as the Irish of the east. I didn’t know this until a while after I arrived here first in 2005. Of course, when I was young and heard the main reason why I thought it was great and I looked forward to challenging this accolade to the best of my ability; could Koreans out-drink me, a then twenty-three year old post-university drifter who had ended up in Korea with the promise of earning enough money to travel around the world. The fact that I never made it past Malaysia is beyond the point.

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Letter to/from Korea, July 2011


Dunboyne, Co. Meath
Ireland
11/7/2011

Dear Ireland,

Or, should I say Korea? I’m all a bit mixed up at the moment – I missed last month’s post and then this month I’m not sure who I should be writing to. I know where I am writing from. I am back with my old nemesis, Dunboyne in County Meath. Does that have anything to do with my indecision? God help me if it does.

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Letter from Korea, May 2011


Suwon, South Korea
24/5/2011

 Dear Ireland,

The summer is upon us. Of course we all have different ideas of what the summer is. For me, it’s the holidays. This June, I will be working through my summer holidays but don’t worry; I have two months of holidays so working through them isn’t as big a catastrophe as it might sound. This summer I will be in Dublin (What of the letter from Korea?  Well perhaps I’ll compromise). Every summer Dublin fills with Europeans students who come to study English. This summer will be no different. I make a living out of this.

At the same time, every year thousands of Koreans leave Korea to study in English. Recently I have started trying to figure out how to get more Koreans to go to Ireland. According to the God of Statistics there are only around 1500 Koreans in Ireland and most of them are language students. Working as an English language professional here in Korea I have been exposed to, what I’ve heard and called myself, the obsession, craze, determination to learn English on a national level. So why isn’t this number bigger? Continue reading