‘I love Guinness, and I love how green the country is’: New Irish citizens conferred in Dublin

Some 1,200 people were granted Irish citizenship in two ceremonies at the National Concert Hall

When Lalit Kumar Tamboli moved to Ireland, he had no idea he would remain in the country long enough to become a citizen, but it was “a really proud day” for him on Monday when he attended his naturalisation ceremony, after living here for eight years.

“I originally moved from India to Dublin to work for Bank of Ireland in 2016. I liked the country from the moment I came here, except the weather was a challenge,” he laughs.

“My whole life is here now – my wife, my friends, my work. I love Guinness, and I love how green the country is. I moved to Meath eight months ago. I like it there a lot, it’s nice and very calm.”

Tamboli arrived at the National Concert Hall early for the ceremony, after taking a half day from work, he says, adding: “I was just so excited.”


“The process to become a citizen is a bit long, but it is a very important process, so I think it’s well and good that the officers don’t rush things. Now things are online too which makes it more convenient.”

Tamboli was one of 1,200 people granted Irish citizenship in two ceremonies which took place at the National Concert Hall in Dublin on Monday.

Citizenship ceremonies were first introduced in 2011 in order to mark the occasion. Since the ceremonies were first introduced, there have been a total of 175 ceremonies with people from more than180 countries receiving their certificates of naturalisation.

To date about 175,000 people have received Irish citizenship since 2011.

On Monday, India came first with the highest number of applicants for citizenship (243), followed by 99 from Brazil and 81 from the United Kingdom. Applicants from Romania, Philippines, Poland, Pakistan, Nigeria, China and the United States followed in the top 10 countries.

Among them was Kuldeep Sharma, from west India, who attended the ceremony with his wife Priyanka Dayma.

“I came to Ireland a long time ago, in 2012. I came here for my studies, a masters in computing. It was my dream to leave my home country and go across the world to get an education,” Sharma says.

“I got an opportunity to work here after and I thought it could maybe be like a second home but then it became my real home.”

Sharma’s wife joined him in Ireland in 2017 and is yet to become a citizen herself, but was delighted to be there for her husband’s big day.

“It feels great. I felt Irish already so it’s only for the formalities, but today still feels so happy,” he says.

“We don’t have family here but we have lots of Irish friends, both Irish friends and people from the Indian community. We represent Indian culture in the St Patrick’s Day parades too which is fantastic.”

The couple live in Galway and both took the day off work to attend the ceremony in the National Concert Hall.

“My manager was so happy, he was like: ‘You have to go’. It’s a very special day for me.”

Kevin and Angelia Huong, from China, were “very excited that the day has finally come” after living in Ireland for eight years.

“We came together because I got a work opportunity. I didn’t know we would stay but life is very peaceful here, and the people are so friendly. The process took 17 months and now here we are. It’s fantastic,” Kevin says.

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe and Minister of State at the Department of Justice James Browne attended the ceremonies and met many of the new citizens.

Speaking in advance of the first Ceremony on Monday, Minister Donohoe said Ireland “always had a strong culture of welcoming new people and I am delighted to be able to attend this morning’s ceremony so that I personally can welcome our newest citizens”.

“Today marks the end of one journey and the beginning of an exciting new one for them. By sharing their own unique cultures and traditions with us, our newest citizens become part of our communities and we are all the better for it.

“I also want to acknowledge the value and necessity of immigration to support Ireland’s strong economy and how it benefits our overall society,” Donohoe said.

Minister Browne gave his best wishes to the new citizens, adding that Ireland, as a nation that “over centuries saw so many Irish people emigrate to find safety or work, the Irish people understand what it means to be a migrant, to seek a safe haven, to lay roots and to find a new home”.

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Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times