Ukrainians forced to flee their country in the wake of the war waged on it by Russia have said people in Enniscorthy and across County Wexford have been very welcoming and made their assimilation into a different environment easier than it might otherwise have been.
That was the view expressed by four Ukrainian women who spoke of their experiences in County Wexford since arriving here.
Oleksandra Zavitash, Tetiana Dobel, Tetiana Hryhorieva and Mila Bankova all live in Enniscorthy and while their respective stories and experiences are different in terms of their background stories they all have a shared experience of being forced into exile away from their home country.
However, they said living in Ireland and in particular County Wexford has been a relatively pleasant experience and they are now settling in nicely.
“Now it’s much better than we came first,” said Mila Bankova.
“I came here in April and I was confused as to what I was going to do,” she added.
“All I had was my jacket and my shoes and that was it, and my kid the same and a dog.”
Mila said she was afraid at first and one of the things that first struck her was the silence when she woke up in the morning.
“We didn’t hear shot, we just heard nothing but silence and that was nice but different,” she said. Her views were echoed by the others, some of whom have very little English.
Most of them knew very little about Ireland before coming here, however, Oleksandra Zavitash, who is interested in history and travel was aware not just of Ireland but also part of our history.
She said in some ways the history of Ukraine and Ireland were similar. Oleksandra, who is more commonly known as ‘Alex’, likes Ireland and has seen a lot of it since coming here.
Her view of the country was echoed by Tetiana Hryhorieva who said that Enniscorthy and County Wexford are now like a home from home. Tetiana Dobel, who has very little English, echoed her friends’ comments and said Ireland is nice because it gives them “a usual life” compared to what’s happening in Ukraine.
They miss their home but are happy to be among people who have been “truly amazing” towards them, however, they fear for their relatives back home.