St Patrick’s Day in Seoul, 2013


If you haven’t heard already, I’m chairman of the Irish Association of Korea, and every year around this time we organise a small get together. You might have heard of it, we call it Saint Patrick’s Day.

I won’t blether on too much about it as my brain is exhausted at the simplest mention of the event, however give this link a click and you’ll find all the info you need about the event.

St Patricks Day, Seoul 2013

For some photos from last year’s event, please take a look at my good friend Tom Coyner’s shots from the festival. Tom is also knee deep in this wee event that is taking place in Seoul and is celebrating Irish and Korean links.

irish korea

Go on, you know you want to!

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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Mine’s a can of ‘ass, please!


Today, I am at Incheon International Airport – a wonderful place full of coming and going and, I imagine, Korea’s proud welcoming mat to the world.

It’s quite a lovely place and has been recognised so by some shower of cowboys  for its wonderfulness. I’m sure most people who read this who are in Korea are familiar with said ‘ness. Lots of glass and steel and luxury shopping (because everyone who flies wants a Fendi handbag). Continue reading

12 Rules for Expat Life in Korea Contd.


Today has seen the Korean blogosphere dancing in the delights of this recent article of sorts on CNNgo.

Shocking stuff altogether.

Fortunately a few bloggers have jumped to protect Korea because Korea is such a wonderful perfect place that has never done anything wrong and shouldn’t be criticised for the realities its society presents. Grrrr. What I couldn’t get over was the general belief that this post was taken so seriously and the defence of Korea was so patriotic. So in defence of decency I will try to add my own flavour and sense of balance to this debate.

But first take a moment to read what has already been said:

Roboseyo: CNNgo Trolls Bloggers; 12 ACTUALLY useful tips for Expat life.

Re: 12 rules for expat life in Korea | Chris in South Korea – Travel and life in Korea.

12 Rules for Expats in Korea | David S. Wills.

Of course, no one here is right or wrong. It’s just … well… so what? As David S. Wills makes the point, anyone who reads the CNNgo post will – hopefully – realise that this is a little bit of jolly finger-pointing…at least I think that’s the point he made (I only had a few minutes to read so I read quickly, as in quicker than ‘scan’ reading).

Anyway, the balancing act courtesy of me. Drum rolls please!!!! Continue reading

The Lockup


On January 5 of this year I went into the main campus of the university where I teach in Korea. I had been nominated or selected/chosen/drafted in to help with the writing of what is notorious here in the land of the morning calm, that what is, is the pyeon-ib (편입).

The pyeon-ib is a test for students who are already in a university who want to enter another university, usually one that is better. To get in they have to take two tests, one of which is an English exam of 60 questions. Myself and three other English faculty members were here with a few others from scientific, mathematic, and other humanities based subjects to shape upwards of 8000 hopefuls vying for only a few hundred spaces.

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