Cookies on the DFA website

We use cookies to give the best experience on our site while also complying with Data Protection requirements. Continue without changing your settings, and you'll receive cookies, or change your cookie settings at any time.

Skip to main content

Irish Community Organisations in Korea

Korea is home to a number of cultural, sporting and religious organisations which reflect the diversity and depth of the Irish community in Korea.

Irish Association of Korea (I.A.K)

The main cultural organisation in Korea is the Irish Association of Korea.

The I.A.K is a non-profit organisation that promotes Irish culture in Korea by organising events that are interesting for Irish people and at the same time offer opportunities for Koreans and other nationalities to experience and learn more about Ireland and Irish culture.

The I.A.K organises the annual St Patrick’s Day festival in March with over 5,000 people participate in every year. In addition to the St Patrick’s Day festival the Association holds an Autumn Ceili and various other ‘meet ups’ and music sessions.

If you are interested in participating in Irish cultural activities in Korea you can contact the Irish Association of Korea

Gaelic Athletic Association (G.A.A)

Korea has a thriving GAA scene with three clubs in the main cities of Seoul, Busan and Daegu. The clubs participate in an Inter-Korean league which pits each team up against each other in a tournament style format three times over the late spring, summer and autumn. The teams also participate in regional and continent based tournaments organised by GAA clubs in neighbouring countries and the Asian County Board.

The largest of the three teams, Seoul Gaels recently revived the North Asian Gaelic games tournament in June, 2014. The Seoul Gaels usually field a number of teams at the highly successful and growing Asian Gaelic Games and are on occasion accompanied by representations from Laochra Busan and Daegu Fianna.

If you are interested in participating in Irish games in Korea, contact:

Irish Missionaries in Korea

The first group of ten Columban Fathers from the Missionary Society of St Columban came to Korea in 1933 and began parish work south of Seoul. In 1938 a second mission was started in the Northern Province of Kangwondo - today the diocese of Chunchon. In the first few decades the order worked mainly in parishes in rural areas in South Cholla and Jeju provinces. They were also concentrations of the Columbans in the Gwangju area. The early years were dominated by the harassment of the Japanese and during the period of World War II all Columbans were either placed under house arrest, in jail or deported. The post war years were spent trying to cope with the devastating hunger and the huge refugee problem resulting from the war.

The Missionary Sisters of St Columban arrived in 1955 following a request from the Fathers, that the Sisters open a hospital in Mokpo. This was followed by the opening of a nursing school in the following decade.

In the late sixties many Columbans moved to the cities following the people who were flocking to work in the new urban industries. Poor living and working conditions led to widespread unrest.

Consequent suppression resulted in Columbans participating in the human rights struggle during the 70s and 80s.

Today the Columbans Fathers are also in ministries reaching out to the marginalized people. They have also been joined by lay missionaries from Ireland.

All of the Columbans in Korea are immersed in Korean language and culture. They are fluent language speakers and a bridge between Korea and Ireland. A number of the order were pioneers in translation of Korean literature and brining Korean culture to the western world.

On 21 November, 1958, five members of the Irish branch Hospitaller Order of St. John of God arrived in Gwangju to undertake medical missionary work where they converted a factory building into a clinic. The headquarters of the Order is located in Gwangju, there are 35 brothers residing in 6 communities and apostolic works, these are situated in Gwangju, Chuncheon and Seoul.

Asia Ireland Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AICCK)

Asia Ireland Chamber of Commerce in Korea is open to both Irish and non-Irish companies in Korea interested or engaged in trade with Ireland and Irish businesspeople working in Korea.

The AICCK Seeks:

  • To promote the interests of Irish-related firms located in Korea
  • To contribute to the development of Irish trade, commerce and investment in Korea
  • To disseminate amongst its members relevant commercial information
  • To enhance the good civic and commercial reputation of Ireland in Korea, and to ensure that Irish interests are kept to a high moral and legal standing
  • To provide opportunities for members to meet for business and social purposes

For more information on the Asia Ireland Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AICCK) please contact Des Scully (Convenor of the AICCK) by e mail on desmond@sgerard.net