Cork is to mark the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dog, by lighting up a number of landmark buildings in the city.

Cork City Hall, the Capitol Building on Grand Parade, and 97 South Mall will be illuminated in red light from sundown tomorrow as part of a Cork City Council initiative.

Lord Mayor Councillor Tony Fitzpatrick said it is to help members of the Chinese community in the city feel part of the greater Cork 'family'.

He said Irish people know what it is like to spend important occasions away from their families.

Cork became the first Irish city to twin with a Chinese city, Shanghai, in 2005.

Chinese IT company, Huawei, which is among the top three smartphone makers in the world, has offices at the Capitol building in Cork city while Beingmate has also established offices in Mahon. 

In recent years, the Beijing-based Kang family have also bought the Kingsley Hotel and Fota estate in Cork.

The city council also supports the Confucius Institute at UCC which offers student and teacher student exchanges between Cork and Chinese primary and second level schools.

According to the 2016 Census, there are just under 700 Chinese nationals resident in Cork city and county, with some 544 registered Chinese students studying at University College Cork.