The Dublin Chinese community welcome the the year of the rat.

Thousands of Chinese people are celebrating their New Year in Ireland. New Year's Day itself falls in the middle of a ten day Chinese New Year's festival being held in the Capital, the largest ever to mark the occasion.

On Parnell Street, also known as Dublin's Chinatown, crowds are attracted to the celebrations with a Chinese dancing dragon on the street. 

It may be the beginning of the year of the rat, but here it was the dragon that was doing all the dancing.

According to Susan Nguyen, the dragon blesses all the businesses in the area and expels evil. While the Chinese community and Dubliners alike celebrate together, Jason Zhang Chi says that even though it is New Year, people still have to go to work. He feels that the government should declare the Chinese New Year as a public holiday. 

While it is not yet a public holiday, for the first time a ten day Chinese holiday is being held in the capital. 

Laurence Lee of the Chinese Professionals in Ireland hopes that the new year will bring prosperity and success to Ireland. 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 7 February 2008. The reporter is Laura Fletcher.