Dragons and Lions and Sheep! Oh my!

Happy Year of the Sheep – or Goat – depending upon who you are talking to and which language you’re speaking. In Korean, Mongolian and Chinese it’s both a sheep and a goat; in Vietnamese it’s definitely a goat; in Japanese it’s definitely a sheep and in Mandarin it is the year of the horned animal – so that could be sheep, goat or (if you want to get crazy) a ram.  Your guess is as good as mine. Irrespective of which horned animal we’re celebrating, I have long dreamed of spending Chinese New Year in China but it wasn’t on the cards for me this year. Instead, I joined in the Sino-Irish revelry that took over Dublin‘s Temple Bar this weekend. There were all kinds of strange and fabulous sights, from dragons…

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

… and dancing lions …

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

… to exquisite dancers in delightfully colourful costumes…

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

… and mouth-watering cookery demonstrations.

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

Everybody was kung fu fighting…

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

…and tai chi enlightening …

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

… this dragon was a little bit frightening…

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney, chinese dragon boat racing

…until I realized it was just the front of a Chinese Dragon Boat…

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

… complete with a majestic drum to urge the paddlers onward. I got to play the drum myself, before wandering back to listen to the much more delicate sound of the guzheng aka zither or Chinese harp.

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

There were noodles being stir-fried…

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

… and stalls selling toy sheep …

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

… so you could treasure your own little memento of the year of the sheep. Or goat. Or ram. There were even a few sheep hanging around for good measure. I think I recognized one of them from the Sheep Olympics I attended last year in Wexford.

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

It was a whole lot of fun, but I did have some favourite moments, like when the dancers pulled this cool move …

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

… and when the dancing lion turned his back and wagged his adorably fluffy tail…

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

… this little girl in the audience…

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

… and these ridiculously cute teeny tiny dancers …

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

dublin chinese new year festival 2015, dragons, tai chi, kung fu, dragon dance, lion dance, year of the sheep, chinese harp, zither, travel, travelogue, ailsa prideaux-mooney

Here’s a short video I made showing some highlights of the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival. Hope you enjoy it.

Happy Year of the Sheep. Or Goat. Or Ram.

xxx Ailsa

 

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About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - wheresmybackpack.com - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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31 Responses to Dragons and Lions and Sheep! Oh my!

  1. dyule2014 says:

    Thank you for your wonderful Website all the event that you have present to all your followers
    You have covered so many events you have inspired and motivated so many of your followers

    Chinese News Years was just amazing the video you have available.

    Wishing you all your success daily

  2. 'Tod' says:

    Thanks for clearing up the ambiguity on which horned animal represents 2015 in Asian culture. I asked my Vietnamese massuse if it was the year of the sheep liked I’d read. She said ” not year of ‘ship’ (my name is Bill and she calls me ‘Beeo’), year of goat.” I was then confused until I read your post. Thanks!

  3. pommepal says:

    Such a colourful ceremony Ailsa. Those teeny tiny dancers are so cute and very serious as they concentrate so hard on their moves. Lovely post

  4. Love this post and your colorful images. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Mary says:

    Great photos! Looks a very fun event. Sheep sounds better than goat I think.

  6. Great photos. So bright and colourful. I love the children.

  7. jenniferhofmann says:

    Love it! I didn’t know you were writing from Dublin, so I was extra surprised. I had no idea there’s a large enough Asian community there to warrant a festival. How cool! Thanks for sharing and enlightening us.

    • ailsapm says:

      Yes, it was fun, Jennifer, although I hear the London celebrations are the next best thing to celebrating in China, so maybe next year I’ll pop across the pond and see how London does it! 🙂

  8. what a treat, to experience Chinese New Year in Ireland. It looks as if everyone had a great time. I’m glad you cleared up the confusion about goats and sheep as we were in Burma and Thailand over the festivities and I wasn’t quite sure which animal was being feted. On balance, it seems to be the goat. Perhaps I’ll just stick with Capricorn.

  9. ilargia64 says:

    Great post Ailsa!!!!

  10. mojoshawn says:

    Wow! Really interesting post and great shots/video. Looked like a very fun day.

  11. restlessjo says:

    The dragons win for me every time, but you gave them a run for their money with those little cuties at the end 🙂

  12. Nothing more fun than the dancing lions – what a saucy tail that one had! And the little dancers are always so sweet. Looks like a great event. Really enjoyed your pictures

  13. Allie says:

    Happy New Year of the Sheep!

  14. This made me laugh because I did an engagement shoot in Vegas over the Valentine’s weekend. We passed numerous displays of sheep/goat and ram, along with big-horned sheep. A friendly argument ensued with signs saying ‘goat’ being pointed out in response to ‘but it’s year of the sheep’. When we returned home I did a bit of research and discovered it’s more ‘year of the horned animal’ – a differing animal depending which country you come from. Another argument ensued when I shared the info beginning with, ‘see, I was right’… LOL

  15. Excellent post that gives us all a glimpse of the Chinese culture! Thanks.

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