According to recent census figures, the Polish community is now the largest non-English speaking minority in County Clare. There are more than 2500 Polish people living in County Clare with an estimated 19,000 other Poles living in the surrounding counties of Galway, Limerick and Tipperary. In order to reflect their prominence and to meet Clare County Council’s commitment to social inclusion, Clare Museum will be launching a Festival of Poland on Culture Night, 20th September, 2013.
The festival, which will run until 12th October, will be launched by His Excellency Patrick O’Sullivan, Honorary Consul of Poland and Councillor Joe Arkins MCC Mayor of Clare. 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 talk on largely unknown Irish-Polish connections dating back to the 17th century. The initiative aims to promote various aspects of Polish culture to Clare residents as a whole, while at the same time increasing the relevance of the museum as a cultural facility to the Polish Community. 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, M. Odya will present a lecture focusing on the largely unknown connections between Irish and Polish Catholics during the 17th century including the service of hundreds of Irishmen in the Polish Army during the Polish–Muscovite War (1605–1618).
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 one of the Polish insurgents.
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-Canadian World War 2 historian will present "Project Riese - History of mysterious German structures from WW2." At 2pm, another Kieślowski film - The Double Life of Véronique - will be screened.
In the museum also, there will be displays by Clare County Library of works of Polish literature that have been translated into the English language, and works by Irish authors that have been translated into Polish. All of these books will be available for lending in branches of Clare County Library later.
Further information on the Clare Museum Polish Festival is available from Clare Museum on (065) 6823382, and the programme of main events can be downloaded here in Gaelic, here in Polish, and here in English.