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Promoting Ireland through our culture

Ireland has a rich artistic and cultural heritage that defines us on the world stage.

Pictured are performers from left, Donal Lunny, Steve Nieve, Conor j O'Brien, Paul Brady, Elvis Costello, Glen Hansard, Imelda May, Andy Irvine, Lisa Hannigan and John Sheehan at a Celebration of British and Irish Culture Concert in the Royal Albert Hall in London on the third official day of the Presidents 5 day State Visit to the United Kingdom

Our culture

Ireland’s global cultural presence – both historic and contemporary – is an asset out of all proportion to our size, and a distinctive national strength. The global impact of Irish culture is one of our greatest competitive advantages and a central means of connecting with new global audiences and publics as well as with the global Irish diaspora.

The Department’s Culture Unit leads on Ireland’s cultural diplomacy worldwide, working closely with the Department of Culture (including Culture Ireland) and other partners, in the delivery of the ambitious cultural objectives of the Government’s Global Ireland 2025 strategy.  

Cultural diplomacy is an important part of the broader public diplomacy work of our global network of Missions, which organise cultural initiatives and events to advance awareness, appreciation and understanding of Ireland, and support broader diplomatic objectives. St Patrick’s Day and Bloomsday are key moments in the annual cultural calendar, while Brigid’s Day is a focus for celebrating women’s creativity. Our cultural diplomacy allows us to engage a much broader audience than traditional government-to-government contacts. 

Our Partnerships

The Department partners closely with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, including Culture Ireland, on several strands of arts and cultural promotion and presentation, including the innovative programme of full-time specialist Cultural Attachés in priority locations worldwide.

We also work closely on international projects with the national cultural institutions, and with artform resource organisations, e.g. Literature Ireland, Irish Film Institute, First Music Contact, Poetry Ireland, Irish Theatre Institute and Irish Traditional Music Archive.


Each year to mark Bloomsday the Department and our Mission network collaborate with hundreds of partners worldwide to present a global Joycean celebration. The Department’s 2022 Bloomsday short film, Hold to the Now, was co-commissioned with Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI), featured participants in 37 locations across five continents and reached over 11 million views globally, while the Global Joycean Book Giveaway saw Missions distribute thousands of copies of Joyce’s works in several languages across four continents, from remote libraries in the Australian outback to Indonesian street cafés. 

Irish College Paris

Culture Unit is responsible for oversight of the Irish College in Paris, founded in 1578 and renovated and relaunched in 2002 as the Centre Culturel Irlandais. It has since served as Ireland’s cultural flagship in continental Europe, a hub of artistic creation, cultural exchange and dialogue, and a focal point for the Irish community in France; the Centre’s annual programme is co-funded by the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Culture.

Heaney Estate

The Department and the Seamus Heaney Estate have developed a rich programme partnership since 2020, spanning a range of initiatives, including the Heaney-Milosz writer’s residency in Krakow, Poland, a series of four award-winning short films co-commissioned with the National Library of Ireland, while Embassy Tokyo presented the inaugural Seamus Heaney Award in late 2022.

Exhibitions and Publications

We also  promote cultural relations through a number of touring cultural exhibitions, including on iconic Irish cultural figures including Seamus Heaney, George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats and Samuel Beckett. Ireland and the Birth of Europe is being developed to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Ireland's accession to the European Union in 2023 and will be exhibited across Europe. Thematic exhibitions include Out in the World: Ireland’s LGBTQ+ Diaspora and Blazing a Trail: Lives and Legacies of Irish Diaspora Women, both in partnership with EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, and A History of Ireland in 10 Words in partnership with the Royal Irish Academy.

Irish studies programmes

Irish Studies programmes and networks are active across the world, from continental Europe to North and South America and Asia.  Our support for Irish Studies programmes abroad benefits Ireland by:

  • Increasing the quality and range of international scholarship and research undertaken on Irish culture, history and society
  • Instilling knowledge, understanding and affection for Ireland and Irish culture in students worldwide

Our cultural partners

Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) 

Royal Irish Academy 

Poetry Ireland  

Literature Ireland 

Irish Film Institute 

Screen Ireland 

Culture Ireland - Promoting Irish Arts Worldwide