The first ever celebration of Polish heritage, history and culture in County Clare will be held later this month.
The three-week long Polish Festival will take place at Clare Museum in Ennis from 20th September to 12th October and is being targeted at the region’s significant Polish population.
There are more than 2,500 Polish people living in County Clare with an estimated 19,000 other Poles living in the surrounding counties of Galway, Limerick and Tipperary.
Amongst the free public events being hosted at Clare Museum will be lectures on Poland’s World War Two experience, Polish film screenings, an exhibition of Polish modern art, and a lecture by a Polish descendant of two Clare men who were shipwrecked in the Baltic Sea coast during the 17th century. The Festival is being supported by Clare Local Authorities and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Jakub Kacprzak, Organiser of the Polish Festival, said: “We are very excited about hosting the upcoming festival, the first of its kind ever to be held in Clare, a County that has been home to hundreds of Polish people for a number of years during which they have become active and valued members of the local community. The upcoming series of events will not only celebrate Poland’s rich culture and heritage but also will showcase some of the many connections and similarities between the people of Ireland and Poland. We look forward to welcoming all members of the local community to Clare Museum during the festival.”
John Rattigan, Museum Curator, added: “Clare Museum is delighted to be able to facilitate Jakub and the festival organising committee in hosting a series of events that will provide a wonderful focal point for the large Polish community throughout the West of Ireland. This festival is testament to Clare’s vibrant multicultural community.”
The Clare Museum Polish Festival gets underway on Friday 20th September at 8pm with an exhibition of Polish modern art that will be launched by Mayor of Clare Joe Arkins and His Excellency Patrick O’Sullivan, Honorary Consul of Poland. Polish pianist Marcin Dominik Gluch will perform in concert at 4pm the following day.
On Thursday 26th September at 1pm, Mietek Odya will present a lecture focusing on his County Clare descendants who got shipwrecked near Gdansk while en route to enlist with the Russian Navy during the 17th century.
On Saturday 28th September at 11am, archaeologist Jakub Kacprzak will present a talk entitled, “Megalithic Idea in Poland and Ireland.” Roman Polanski's holocaust film, The Pianist, will be the subject of a special screening at 2.30pm.
On 3rd October at 1pm a lecture on the Warsaw Uprising against Nazi occupiers in 1944 will be hosted by Jakup Kacprzak, a grandson of a Polish insurgent.
On 5th October at 11am, Folkowisko Association members Marcin and Marina Piotrowski will present a talk titled “Multicultural Poland - Journey Through Centuries.” At 3pm there will be a screening of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Short Film About Killing.”
On 12th October at 11am, Polish World War 2 historian Bartosz Wróbel will present "Project Riese - History of mysterious German structures from WW2." At 2pm, another Kieślowski film - The Double Life of Véronique - will be screened.
Further information on the Clare Museum Polish Festival is available from Clare Museum on (065) 6823382.