Expatriate community welcomes new Irish ambassador to St Patrick’s Ball

The Dram Band keeping the crowd entertained with Irish favourites at the St Patrick’s Ball.

THE Irish expatriate community of Penang and their friends got together for a night of Ceilí agus Ceol (party and music in Irish or Gaeilge), and camaraderie during the St Patrick’s Ball at the E&O Hotel in Farquhar Street.

There were food, drinks, music and dance such as Irish step dances to keep the 250 guests, who came dressed in their best, at the ball entertained through the night.

Traditional Irish numbers like Whiskey in the Jar, Danny Boy (a song set to the traditional Irish melody of Londonderry Air) and many others were performed by a five-piece band.

Penang Irish Association (PIA) president Maggie Territt said the Irish, who travelled and settled around the world, have shared and spread the Irish culture through such celebrations.

“The Irish in Penang are known for organising and throwing fantastic social events.

“Music has always been a fundamental part of Irish tradition and Irish musicians are renowned for their distinctive melodies and songs.

“Ceilí agus Ceol means party and music in Gaeilge, and if you translate the word Ceilí properly, it can be defined as a social event with Irish folk music and singing, traditional dancing and story- telling.

“As you may realise, PIA’s annual St Patrick’s festival is a huge Ceilí and this year’s theme is celebrate, ” she said.

The new Irish ambassador to Malaysia Hilary Reilly was also at the ball, her first official function with PIA.

The festival was held over three days recently at the Straits Quay where there was an exhibition on Ireland, a badge and hat workshop, cup cake decorating for kids and face painting, a St Patrick’s Parade featuring marching bands and dance group performances.

There was also a 5km Shamrock Fun Run followed by a live concert with bands from the Prince of Wales Island International School, Dram Band with traditional Irish music, Ray Rozells & De Leon Jazz Experience and an Elvis impersonator.

PIA is also celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick is a cultural and religious celebration traditionally worldwide held on March 17, the death date of Saint Patrick (AD 385-461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland.

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