New Island Books - 25 Years a-Growing

The Irish and China

The Irish and China


In the ten years since the publication of the first book of essays on Ireland/China relations, China and the Irish, Ireland has been transformed. Conventionally defined as a small open economy, it is now becoming an open and increasingly global culture.

During the last decade, one which has commemorated the founding events of the Easter Rising of 1916, the notion of who is Irish must now be extended to include about two hundred nationalities. The country that once, over many centuries, said goodbye to its emigrating children is now saying hello to migrants from every corner of the world. Among these are the Chinese. As one of the essays in this new volume points out, the census of 2011 registered an increase of 91 per cent over the 2002 figure for Chinese migrants to Ireland. From a longer perspective, in just over half a century the Chinese in Ireland have changed from a largely ‘unseen’ small community into the fifth largest population of non-EU nationals in the country.

Chinese consumers (as one essay points out) can, in their larger supermarkets, now routinely buy such products as Irish-based infant milk formula, Kerrygold butter, alcoholic beverages such as Bailey’s Irish Cream and Jameson whiskey – and, even more recently, Irish beef and lamb. But, perhaps truer to its reputation, many Chinese people have already discovered Ireland through its culture – as represented by Irish writing and Irish dance. Fuelled in the last decades by translations of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, that hunger for Irish writing is still growing. As embraced by their Chinese audience, Irish stories, told in peculiarly Irish ways, have opened the door for fresh perceptions of what, today, it means to be Irish.

As China continues to solidify its place as a dominant superpower, as well as being the world’s most populous country, interest in it has never been greater. As the Chinese market opens itself to Irish agricultural exports and as Ireland becomes an increasingly popular tourist destination for Chinese citizens, a closer look at some of the deeper ties between our two countries is welcome.

The links between Ireland and China go back centuries, across many different areas. In this absorbing book, Professor Jerusha McCormack brings together fascinating and surprising essays on a wide range of Chinese-Irish connections, from literature and science to philosophy, and everything in between.

About the Editor

Professor Jerusha McCormack is an Irish academic with a long career in the area of comparative cultures and a particular interest in China, where she teaches at Beijing Foreign Studies University. She is the author and editor of several publications including Thinking through China and China and the Irish.


Jerusha McCormack


Trade Paperback





Release Date

March 2019

Additional Information

Weight .276 g
Dimensions .234 × .158 × .20 mm


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