About 420 participants from Ireland, Latvia, the UK, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Sweden, plus thousands of spectators gathered for the march, which began at old Dublin’s Temple Bar.
Latvia’s Ambassador to Ireland Dr. Gints Apals opened the events, remarking on the coinciding Independence Restoration holiday on May 4 and welcoming Dublin mayor Larry O’Toole and Europe’s Latvian Association head Aldis Austers as guests of honor.
“Out of the 25,000 or so Latvians living in Ireland, about 25% are in the larger Dublin area, but the community is also present in the areas of Cork, Limerick, Galway, Sligo, Castlebar, Tuam, Carlow, Swords, Portaloise, many places in Ireland,” the Ambassador told Irish public broadcaster RTÉ.
The Latvian Cultural Festival opened April 30 and lasted for five days. The event was covered extensively by Ireland’s public media. This year the events also expanded out beyond Dublin to other centers of Latvian immigration in Ireland such as the town of Carlow for the first time.
The Latvians treated their hosts to an assortment of brand-name goodies from the homeland, not to mention food for the soul – an ovation-earning concert by the Latvian Radio Choir at the National Concert Hall, sponsored by the Presidency of the Council of the EU.