Meeting the Irish Ambassador in Vietnam

Last night The Irish Ambassador to Vietnam, Cait Moran, presented the annual literature award in a room full of very excited Vietnamese Students in Hanoi.

It was a great buzz – full of the usual relaxed friendliness.

I’ve only been in Vietnam three weeks but I already knew a good few people in the room and I even bumped into some of the students from the school I teach in.

20 Vietnamese students won fully-funded scholarships (to UCC, CIT and UCD) and I had the pleasure of talking to them about their expectations of going to Ireland and to the Republic of Cork!

I was privileged to be invited to the event on the same night that the ‘Friends of Ireland’ initiative was launched and for me personally it was a great treat to be there as a Writer and Student of NUI Galway after winning the EIL Summer Scholarship to Vietnam!

It was also an honour to read one of my own poems, to such a friendly and open audience (see 30mins into video – where I try playing Yeats’ Sally Gardens on the Sao – a traditional bamboo flute – and where I murder ‘The Auld Triangle )

Afterward the awards and photos, I managed to talk to the students going to Cork before they go – so we are already looking forward to the chats and a possible fishing trip!

After visiting the temple of literature, in Hanoi, I was inspired by History.

After last night, I was blown away by the potential we have for our futures.

Proud to be Irish in this city and happy with my own journey.

So, in the words of Confusious – the great Chinese philosopher…

‘It doesn’t matter how slow you go, so long as you don’t stop’

EIL Volunteers from left to right: Tracey Keogh (Explore UL), Katherine Byrne (EIL Volunteer Abroad), David O’Reilly (Explore NUIG ALIVE), Daniel Paul Jesudason and Angela Johnson (EIL Volunteer Abroad).