On the occasion of the national holiday of Ireland, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the country to the Republic of Bulgaria – H. E. Mr. Michael Forbes, and Mr. Mark Martinez, gave a reception on the 18th of March in the Royal Hall of Sofia Hotel Balkan.

Its honorary guest was the Minister of State for Natural Resources, Community Affairs and Digital Development - Mr. Seán Canney. He is the first Irish minister to come to our country on the occasion of St. Patrick's Day - March 17th. During this year's national holiday celebrations, members of the Irish Government visited all 27 European capitals - a symbolic sign of Ireland's strong connection with the EU and its member states.

The celebration of the national holiday of Ireland was attended by ambassadors, diplomats, officials, journalists and representatives of the Irish community in Bulgaria. Like every year many of those present were dressed in green - the colour of Ireland and the shamrock, a symbol of St. Patrick.

H. Mr. Michael Forbes welcomed his guests and wished both his Bulgarian friends and the Irish living in our country a Happy St. Patrick’s day. Minister Seán Canney also addressed them.

The performances of the musicians Andrey Velkov (Irish drum - Bodhrán) and Vincent Walsh (Irish whistle) created the right mood. Dancers from the Irish Dance Academy Sofia played Irish dances. They somehow naturally transformed into a Bulgarian horo, which was attended by the guest minister himself. Then everyone enjoyed traditional Irish cuisine and the world famous Irish drinks, including whiskey and beer.

During his visit to Bulgaria, Minister Seán Canney visited the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, the Ministry of Environment and Water, the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications and the National Assembly where he met and talked with his colleagues and MPs from the Friendship Group Bulgaria - Ireland.

The photos are provided by the Embassy of Ireland.

Above from left to right: Mr. Mark Martinez, Minister of State for Natural Resources, Community Affairs and Digital Development - Mr. Seán Canney, and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ireland to the Republic of Bulgaria - H. E. Mr. Michael Forbes

Below: Mr. Yuri Sterk, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria and his wife; a representative of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church; the doyen of the diplomatic corps in Bulgaria H. E. Dr. Ahmed Al Madbuh, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Palestine; guests at the reception; the musicians Andrey Velkov (Irish drum) and Vincent Walsh (Irish whistle) and dancers from Irish Dance Academy Sofia with Minister Seán Canney