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Expo 2020 Dubai: Ireland to ‘put creativity at the centre of human experience’

Dubai - The pavilion, designed by Irish architect Ciarán O’Connor, draws inspiration from both classical western and Islamic architectural traditions


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Thu 30 Sep 2021, 2:15 PM

Last updated: Thu 30 Sep 2021, 2:17 PM

The Ireland pavilion strives to present the island republic as a place of inspiration, with a long and deeply rooted heritage of imagination and innovation.

Ireland unveiled its pavilion in the Mobility District at the Expo 2020 Dubai on Thursday.

The pavilion, designed by Irish architect Ciarán O’Connor, draws inspiration from both classical western and Islamic architectural traditions, authorities have said.

Pat Hennessy, commissioner-general of the Ireland pavilion, said: “We have an exciting programme which celebrates Irish creativity in all its many forms. You will be informed, be entertained and above all, you will be given a warm Irish welcome. Our visitors will see the exciting work of talented Irish designers, innovators and inventors.”

The pavilion will feature daily performances by musicians at The Courtyard and workshops with Coder Dojo, a global movement of free, volunteer-led, community-based computer programming clubs for young people.

Ireland’s National Concert Hall is leading the Expo World Choir, and visitors can also look forward to the St Patrick’s Day celebrations at the pavilion on March 17.

“The pavilion will offer a host of workshops for visitors of all ages, whether you want to be part of our Coderdojo groups or to learn more about Irish music and culture. We also look forward to exciting events on which we are cooperating outside our pavilion,” said Hennessy.

The pavilion

Ireland’s theme for Expo 2020 Dubai is ‘Putting creativity at the Centre of Human Experience in the 21st Century’.

The building plan is made up of two conjoined, square elements. The first is fully enclosed and climate-controlled, and the second is a secluded courtyard. An enclosed room will house the permanent exhibition, ‘We Are The Makers’, highlighting the essence of Irish culture — art, literature, music and song.

Upon entering the pavilion, visitors will step into the Oculus Room, where they will enjoy a short, high-impact, immersive, visual and vocal experience of Irish culture. It will be followed by a digital display of the Irish landscape on a slow-moving loop.

The pavilion includes The Courtyard, where visitors can relax and enjoy the welcoming atmosphere and regular music performances from The Expo Players, the pavilion's in-house ensemble, performing Irish music.

Activities and events at the Ireland pavilion

The pavilion will host various lively events for visitors of all ages to enjoy over the next six months.

Key events include:

The Expo World Choir at Jubilee Park will be led and created by conductor David Brophy in December.

On Christmas, the pavilion will feature a specially created musical ensemble, guest singers and the Expo World Choir, performing the great Irish songbook in a unique international gathering in Jubilee Park.

For Ireland’s National Day, St Patrick’s Day on March 17, the Ireland pavilion will host various events, including a performance by traditional musician Martin Hayes.

Primarily for Expo 2020, the Irish Songbook will focus on iconic Irish songs, including classics by U2, The Cranberries, Hozier, Snow Patrol and The Corrs, to name a few. On St Patrick’s Day, special guests will perform Irish traditional music and songs from the Irish songbook.


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Creative workshops will take place at The Hamilton Room in the heart of the pavilion. The room will provide a hub for a wide range of cultural, business and diplomatic conversations, connections and engagements during the six months of the Expo.

The Royal Irish Academy (RIA) will host a series of panel discussions featuring academics, creative practitioners, activists, public policy figures and politicians.

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