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Polish and Irish history and culture to converge in Culture Night 2022 events in Gorey


Paul Strzelecki.

Paul Strzelecki.

Paul Strzelecki.


The life of a Polish man who made great humanitarian contributions during the Great Famine is central to an exhibition being organised by the Gorey Polish Cultural Association this Culture Night.

Taking place on September 25 as part of national Culture Night celebrations, “A Forgotten Polish Hero of the Great Irish Famine: Paul Strzelecki's Struggle to Save Thousands” tells the interesting story about a Pole whose life is intertwined with the history of Ireland. Paul (Paweł) Edmund Strzelecki was a Polish humanitarian, who, as the main agent of the British Relief Association during the Great Famine, developed a visionary and exceptionally effective mode of assistance: feeding starving children directly through the schools.

At its peak in 1848, around 200,000 children from all denominations were being fed and clad, many of whom would have otherwise perished from hunger and disease. Despite suffering from the effects of typhoid fever he contracted in Ireland, Strzelecki dedicated himself to hunger relief. This exhibition endeavours to bring his achievements and legacy back into the public eye.

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This exhibition is a flagship initiative of the Polish Embassy in Dublin. In 2016, the then Polish Ambassador, Ryszard Sarkowicz suggested commemorating the service of Count Paweł Strzelecki to Ireland. Public diplomacy coordinators at the Embassy and curators of the exhibition, Galia Chimiak and Nikola Sękowska-Moroney, raised funds and conducted research to get the project off the ground.

Through their research, they connected with Professor Peter Gray, Associate Professor Emily Mark-FitzGerald and designer Ger Garland, who were involved in the development of the exhibition. The result of their work is “A Forgotten Polish Hero of the Great Irish Famine: Paul Strzelecki’s Struggle to Save Thousands”, which explores the fascinating life and achievements of Paul. This exhibition will take place in the Market House from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on September 25.

"We wanted to show the life of an interesting Polish person who saved Irish children from starving. The exhibition travelled all over Ireland and we felt now is the time for it to be known in Gorey," said Ola Riquet of the Gorey Polish Cultural Association.

Excitement in the lead-up to Culture Night is already building owing to another initiative organised by Gorey Polish Cultural  Association. 

“Polish Culture Hunt” invites people to seek out different objects hidden around Gorey in the hopes of winning €200, €100, €50 or two €25 vouchers. Budding detectives must find a minimum 10 out of 15 Polish symbols or items hidden around Gorey town to be in with a chance of winning.

Rules are very simple and everyone can take part while having a stroll around the town. Objects are clearly marked, with many of them located in the shop windows. The participating shops are also clearly marked and have game cards ready for collection for participants. The game has already kicked off and will run until September 23.

A draw will take place in Market House at 9 p.m. during the exhibition to announce the winners.