Ireland hosts first-ever Refugee Week in celebration of compassion and connection

In honour of World Refugee Week, local events and Street Feasts will be taking place across the country.

A group of people standing at an outdoor festival with green and orange flags representing Refugee Week in Ireland.
Image: Twitter @Samue1

For the very first time this year, Ireland is hosting its official Refugee Week from June 19 to 25. With Street Feasts and local events taking place all over the country, everyone is invited to celebrate compassion and connection at this international festival.

Countries worldwide recognise World Refugee Day on June 20, an annual occurrence established by the United Nations in 2001 to celebrate and honour refugees around the globe. Around this day, every year countries all over the world celebrate Refugee Week, the world’s largest cultural festival which celebrates refugees’ contributions, creativity, and resilience, and Ireland is taking part for the first time this year.

Refugee Week will provide opportunities for residents to connect with local refugees in their areas. Each town and village will demonstrate support with everything from local street parties to art installations. Street Feasts and movie nights will be taking place across the country, and local libraries and bookshops will offer a range of books sharing refugee experiences around the world.

Schools across the country will teach about Refugee Week through Schools of Sanctuary Ireland, an initiative that promotes a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment for refugees seeking sanctuary in Ireland. The curriculum includes classroom resources, art, music, storytelling, and activities.


Children’s Books Ireland and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, have partnered with libraries and bookshops across the country to encourage young people to read books about those who were forced to leave their friends, family, and belongings behind in search of safety.

Deirdre Garvey, Secretary General at Irish Red Cross, said: “Refugees enrich and diversify our culture and society, and contribute to our economy. For decades, Irish people have opened their hearts, homes, and wallets to support people coming to this country fleeing conflict, oppression, and environmental threats. Refugee Week is our opportunity to celebrate this proud tradition and show solidarity and support for refugees in Ireland.”

On Sunday, June 25, Street Feast is coordinating neighbourhood street parties all over Ireland for people to meet, chat, share food, and build stronger communities. The day will include street parties and community lunches celebrating the refugee community.


Enda O’Neill, Head of Office at UNHCR Ireland, said: “Simple acts make a massive difference and kind communities matter. Join us however you can to celebrate all the small ways we show kindness towards new neighbours. Refugee week is the perfect time to show your support and make new connections.”

Everyone is encouraged to share their support by hosting a Street Feast, attending a movie night, or simply welcoming new people in their communities. You can register your event on the Refugee Week Ireland site and find more events in your area.

In addition to the festival and to show solidarity with the refugee community, Ireland For All and MASI are organising a demonstration at 5.30 pm on June 20 in the Garden of Remembrance. Find more information about the event here.


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