Special day to welcome Ukrainian refugees to the locality
Caherdaniel’s population has nearly doubled in recent weeks with the arrival of Ukrainian refugees, and they have been welcomed with open arms.
A welcome party was held last week for those who are seeking a temporary home. The celebration was held in the village hall which was well decorated for the event and it welcomed people from all ages and backgrounds.
A barbecue took place and visitors were encouraged to ‘bring your own dish’ with many of the Ukrainian visitors bringing their native dumplings and borscht soup. A raffle and face-painting also took place.
Niamh O’Shea, who helped organise the event, along with a large number of local residents, was over the moon with the outcome: “There was laughter, there was tears, the Ukrainians came, and they performed songs and dances and they recited poetry .
From start to finish, it was a complete success which was great and the weather was good because we were worried about it, we wouldn’t have all fitted in the village hall as the hall would only take around a hundred people and there was one hundred and fifty Ukrainians so we were lucky that the weather was glorious.”
Messages of thanks were received by the organisers from those who had partaken in the event.
“They all thanked us afterwards, one of the girls said that it was nice even for them to put on make-up and dress up which is nice, and we hope to have a lot more events for them in the future.”
There are roughly one hundred and fifty Ukrainians currently living in Caherdaniel, with roughly one hundred and forty living in the Derrynane Hotel, the remainder staying in the local presbytery.
Many of those who have come from Ukraine are children and since their arrival a new classroom has had to be built in the local school to facilitate the sudden surge in students.
The school has started to take in children as young as three years old, with the school itself having no playschool there was simply nowhere else for the children to go.
Come summertime, there will be a summer school running which will give children in the area something to look forward to.
The town of Caherdaniel has done its very best to make the Ukrainian visitors welcome.
When they first arrived, a meeting was held in the local hotel organised by local man Bones O’Connor, described as a “driving force” from the beginning, looking to help the Ukrainians in any way he could.
A car-pooling system was established in this meeting where locals would call the hotel and inform them as to where they were driving, if any of the newer residents needed help transportation-wise, just one of the many things the town is doing to help their new neighbours.