The Waterford Polish Association recently held a special Polish Independence Day celebration in Waterford Library, with photo exhibition, speeches and some special food and wine from the new Waterford Polish restaurant on O’Connell St.
We must say the food tasted good and the Polish community is strongly involved in Waterford society.
The Polish school in Waterford has almost 400 pupils and attracts pupils from nearby counties so they are very well organised. Representatives from the Polish Embassy attended and spoke about the growing links with Ireland.
Hundreds of Poles live and work in Waterford and there is now almost a Polish quarter off O’Connell St where many apartments are occupied by Polish families and where there are a number of polish shops which offer good value.
There is a very good photo exhibition in the Library on Poland dating from pre war to Russian control and the beginning of Solidarity to the democratic period of 1989 onwards. Pope John Paul’s visit is also covered and a Polish priest gave a short address at the event. The exhibition is entitled ‘PRL So Far Away, So Close’.
Poland is now one of our European Union partners and the Deputy Mayor of Waterford, Cllr Seamus Ryan, spoke on the strong links. He welcomed the sharing of their culture which has been positive for the city and noted how the photos on show revealed the struggle of Polish people in the past. The Polish Community has been in the St. Patrick’s Day parade for a number of years. Returning Poles are now buying Irish goods in Poland from Kerrygold butter to Barry’s Tea to Guinness and Irish Whiskey. Irish pubs are also being set up over there with Irish music on offer. As Poland develops, the emerging links will grow.
Do get along to the Lady Lane Library and see this excellent exhibition
And learn about our neighbours. Why not try out the Polish restaurant for the wild mushroom soup and tasty meats. A friendly nation, there is a Polish language Mass in the city each Sunday.
Krys Wiesniewski is the local organiser of the Polish Group and was delighted to see such a large attendance at the launch. He told us about the success of the Polish school and his wife provided some excellent cheese cake for the guests.
The Poles are encouraged by the welcoming approach of the Irish since they came here from 2004 when there was a boom economy. Some building workers have returned but the majority have stayed although some see more opportunity now in Poland compared to before. The Polish Embassy trade mission also visited Waterford a few months ago to encourage trade.