Get to know another culture

There are lots of ways that you can help make Ireland a more welcoming place for asylum seekers and refugees. From something as simple as smiling at your neighbour to donating your spare time to volunteer in a local community group working with refugees and asylum seekers, it’s simple to make your neighbourhood a friendlier place.

Another great way to get to know refugees and asylum seekers better is to learn more about their culture. When we take a minute to learn about another person’s culture and background, it improves our understanding and helps make our neighbourhoods nicer places to settle in.

Strike up a conversation, have a cup of tea with a refugee

Do you live in a neighbourhood that has refugees or asylum seekers next door? Why not stop for a chat or invite them in for a cup of tea?

Get involved in a local group

There are many groups throughout Ireland who work with asylum seekers and refugees and help to integrate new communities into their communities.
You can find your local group on this list from the Integration Centre– they would love to hear from you.

Take part in a local event

There are lots of events happening around the country over the next while which you could go to as your 1 thing. UNHCR Ireland is organizing a series of events in Dublin and we are trying to promote the events of partner organisations around the country too. See our events page for more information. If you have any events in your area please email us at and let us know!

Help refugees, asylum seekers and migrants to learn English and make friends in your community.

There are many community groups offering language support to refugees, migrants and asylum seekers and which help them to make friends in local communities. One such group that you could get involved with is Fáilte Isteach who have 42 centres around Ireland – all of which are listed on their website.

Fáilte Isteach is a community project with older volunteers welcoming new migrants through conversational English classes. Fáilte Isteach utilises the skills, talents and expertise of older volunteers and harnesses their desire to contribute positively to society. Fáilte Isteach works at breaking down the barriers that migrants and communities face by extending the hands of friendship and goodwill through the practical, welcoming and inclusive manner in which the programme is delivered.

Cook a recipe from a country where refugees come from

One very obvious benefits to Irish society thanks to the arrival of new cultures is the new cuisines and ingredients people in Ireland have been introduced to. Did you know that even Ireland’s national staple, the potato, originated in Peru?

We have some simple recipes below which are easy to make and taste great! Why not cook one tonight or share a recipe with a friend? Don’t forget to let us know how it turned out and send us a picture! Thank you to our lovely Facebook friends who recommended these recipes. If you would like to suggest other recipes please just email us at and we'd love to share them with everyone on our website.

Traditional Iraqi 'Casserole'- Tepsi Baytinijan (click for recipe)

Serves (4-6)
2 large eggplants
2 large tomatoes
1 large onion
6 garlic cloves
1/3 kg ground beef
2 medium potatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
corn oil


1. Peel the eggplant in wide stripes and remove stems. Cut the eggplant into rounds about 1" thick.

2. Peel and slice the potatoes into 1" thick round slices, set aside. Slice the onions the same way. Peel the garlic and crush it using one of those little garlic contraptions. Slice the tomatoes.

3. Heat about 1/2 cup of oil in a non-stick pan and fry the eggplant slices until each piece is light golden. In the same oil, lightly fry the potatoes they don't have to cook all the way through.

4. Set aside. In the same pan, fry the onion, and set aside. Drain the fried pieces on some paper towels.

5. Mix the ground beef, half of the crushed garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Make small meatballs and fry them. Set aside.

6. Mix about 2 1/2 cups of water with 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, the remainder of the crushed garlic, salt (about 3 teaspoons), and pepper (preferably white pepper) and -- you guessed it -- set aside.

7. In a baking dish, arrange the eggplant pieces so they slightly overlap (do 2nd layer if necessary.) On top of the eggplant, arrange the potato slices, then the onion, then the slices of tomato on the very top. Arrange the meatballs in between the tomato slices, spreading them evenly. Pour the tomato paste mixture on top of all of this. Arrange the meatballs in between the tomato slices, spreading them evenly.

8. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170-180 c, for 45-60 mins, be careful not to burn.

9. This dish is served with Basmati rice or any other kind of rice -- we prefer Basmati or 'Ammbar'.

Iraqi Vanilla Cake with Pomegranate Sauce (click for recipe)


Serves: 8-10
Units: US | Metric

4 free range eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sweet pomegranate juice
1/4 teaspoon rose water


1. Preheat oven to 180°C Grease and flour a large loaf pan.

2. Beat egg yolks until thick & creamy. Gradually add vanilla and powdered sugar. Add dry ingredients and butter, beating with an electric mixer for 3 minutes on high speed, scrape down sides of bowl once or twice to ensure thorough mixing.

3. Whip egg whites until stiff and fold them lightly into batter. Spread mixture into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes: until it tests done (by a toothpick coming out clean when poked into it.).

4. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Whisk in sweet pomegranate juice. Bring to a boil, whisking continuously. Boil for about 2 minutes, until smooth thick and glossy. Remove from heat and stir in rosewater. Chill.

5. To serve: brush a plate with pomegranate sauce and arrange 2 or 3 overlapping thin slices of cake over the sauce.

Pakistani Chicken Curry Recipe (click for recipe)

Ingredients: (you can get all these ingredients at your local Indian or Pakistani grocer)
Serves: 3 to 4 persons

½ kg chicken
100 ml onion paste
50 ml. yogurt
1 tsp. coriander powder
3 to 4 tsp salt (to taste)
¼ tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. ginger paste
100 ml. oil
1 to 1½ tsp. salt (as per taste)
100 ml. tomato - ground
1-2 green chillies -chopped
1 tsp. garam masala. OR 1 black cardamom seeds,
2 green cardamom seeds,
1 small stick cinnamon
10 black pepper
6-8 cloves
¼ tsp. cumin seeds


2 tsp. fresh coriander leaves and green chillies (chopped)

1. Fry onion paste in oil to light brown. Add Ginger, Garlic paste, yogurt, Coriander Seeds powder, chilli powder, Turmeric powder, tomato, and salt.
2. Mix and fry briefly and then add the chicken.
3. Mix it and let it cook for 10-15 minutes till the chicken becomes tender and the desired consistency of curry is achieved. (add water only to have the required consistency)
4. Garnish with green chillies, green coriander leaves and garam masala.
Serve with naan or boiled rice.

(Recipe from

Easy Pakistani Egg Fry (click for recipe)

Put eggs in a bowl; cut onion & tomato into small pieces, include salt & red chilli as needed then blend these ingredients and put them in a pan, frying on both sides.

Somali Sambusas (click for recipe)

1 (14 ounce) package spring roll wrappers
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground beef
1 leek, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon water, or as needed
1 quart oil for frying

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
2. Add onions, leek and garlic, and cook, stirring until the onions are transparent.
3. Add ground beef, and cook until about halfway done.
4. Season with cumin, cardamom, salt and pepper. Mix well, and continue cooking until beef has browned.
5. In a small dish or cup, mix together the flour and water to make a thin paste.
6. Using one wrapper at a time, fold into the shape of a cone.
7. Fill the cone with the meat mixture, close the top, and seal with the paste.
8. Repeat until wraps or filling are used up.
9. Heat the oil to 365 degrees F ( 170 degrees C) in a deep-fryer or deep heavy pot. There should be enough oil to submerge the wraps.
10. Fry the Sambusa a few at a time until golden brown.
11. Remove carefully to drain on paper towels.


Listen to a song written by a refugee

You only have to look at the list of musicians below to realise the contribution that refugees and the children of refugees have made to music.

Why not find out more about the artists or listen to a song? Ask your friends and followers how many musicians who are refugees they can think of and tell us what your favourite song is. (Please note that these are all external links).

Rita Ora - Rita's family fled their home country of Kosovo when she was just a baby. Listen to her music

M.I.A. – Rapper Maya Arulpragasam is part of a Tamil Sri Lankan refugee family. Read an interview // Listen to her music

Regina Spektor – Her family fled the Soviet Union when she was 9 years old. Read an interview // Listen to her music

Refugee All-Stars – This band formed when refugees fleeing from Sierra Leone’s civil war met in a Guinean refugee camp. Read a review // Listen to their music

Mika – His family fled Beirut in Lebanon when he was only 1 year old. Read an interview // Listen to his music

Wyclef Jean – He is a Haitian refugee. Read more about him // Listen to his music

Bob Marley - Bob fled Jamaica to Miami after being shot during political violence. Read about his early life // Listen to his music

Gloria Estefan - Her father was a Cuban refugee. Read more about her // Listen to her music

Justine Frischmann (Elastica) - Her father was a Hungarian refugee. Read an interview // Listen to her music

Please note UNHCR does not take any responsibility for the content of external websites.


Say hello in another language

Saying hello to someone in your neighbourhood can be the easiest way to make someone else smile. How about learning to say hello in a few languages from countries where refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland have come from?
A big thank you to all our facebook friends who shared their hello's with us!

Starhymashy: pashto KPK Pakistan
Sour Sdei: Cambodia
Moloweni: isiXhosa
Salaam ji: Urdu, Persian Arabic language
Agandi: Runyankole from Western Uganda- East Africa
Haye: Somali
Marhaba: Arabic, Iraq
Tungjatjeta: Albania
Min Ga Lar Bar: Myanmar
Sat sri Akaal: Punjabi
Pranaam: Sanskrit
Namaste: India
Priyvit: Ukraine
Dobar dan: Croatia
Hoy: Filipino Tagalog

Did you do something to get to know another culture?

Why not share a recipe with one of your friends or let someone know that one of the songs above is by a refugee!