Health and Fitness

The extraordinary links between Ireland and Ukraine

The connections between Ireland and Ukraine are manifold. Constance Markiewicz’s husband, who ran a stud farm at Zywotówka in central Ukraine, is only one instance.

Another is Sophie Raffalovich from Odessa, who married the Irish land reform champion William O’Brien. When the O’Briens retired to Westport, Co Mayo within the early 1900s, they pioneered using copper sulphate spray to fight potato blight and gave monetary help to enhance native fisheries. Sophie assisted native nuns establishing the Westport lace trade.

A century onwards, Clew Bay is residence to a different exceptional lady of Ukrainian origin. Settling on the west coast of Co Mayo in 2008, Daria Blackwell, born to Ukrainian immigrants, is a sailor, former scientist and medical advertising knowledgeable.

‘What’s to not like concerning the Irish? The Ukrainians like potatoes; the Irish like potatoes. The Ukrainians like to sing and dance; the Irish like to sing and dance.’

The Ukrainian-American-Irish lady has lengthy been within the hyperlinks between the Irish and Ukrainians. Now greater than ever, as Ireland welcomes the primary refugees from Ukraine, she needs to deepen the bond between the 2 nations.

“My mother fled the border region between Ukraine and Poland during world war two,” says Daria. “She used to say, ‘What’s not to like about the Irish? The Ukrainians like potatoes; the Irish like potatoes. The Ukrainians love to sing and dance; the Irish love to sing and dance. The Ukrainians like vodka; the Irish like whisky.’”

“Arriving to Ireland, I used to be struck by how at residence I felt, maybe due to the parallels between Ukrainian and Irish cultures. Ukrainians are light and peaceable. Music and conventional dance are central to their upbringing, as is sport.

“Traditionally agricultural was the central way of life, farming grains and animal husbandry. The celebration of Malanka in Ukraine is a folk holiday on January 13th, which is New Year’s Eve in accordance with the Julian calendar, and people dressed up in straw costumes – sound familiar? It’s just like the wren boys in Ireland who dressed up in straw costumes and went door to door reciting verses to get money.”

“To me, the Ukrainian and Irish language have an identical really feel, with a really smooth lyrical high quality to each. Ukrainian and Russian could share an identical alphabet, Cyrillic, however they’re two completely different languages.

“Understanding the complexities of Ukrainian society will take a while, however whether or not they converse Ukrainian or Russian, those that have arrived on our shores are wholly Ukrainian in conviction. “

“I believe that Irish folks will respect studying concerning the Byzantine ceremony (or Eastern Rite) and Orthodox Christian faiths. Religion is necessary to Ukrainians, who’re principally Orthodox Christian and Byzantine ceremony Catholics. While ritually the Byzantine ceremony is slightly completely different from Roman Catholic, in follow it’s wholly Catholic.

“Perhaps it’s no shock that scientists at Trinity analysed DNA from the stays of Celtic folks in Ireland and located that their DNA matched that of people that originated within the Steppes of Ukraine.

The folks of Ireland have already prolonged a massively heat welcome to the primary arrivals. Helping them combine safely into our society needs to be our first precedence

“The Vikings also had a significant influence in both countries; being founders of both Kyiv and Dublin. So we have a mix of Celtic and Viking influence on both societies. Even the national symbol of Ukraine, the Tryzub or Trident, may have its roots in Scandinavian falconry, shared with that of a Viking king of Dublin.”

“Another putting similarity is that each nations suffered devastating famines, a trauma that lives on within the collective recollections of the folks. In Ukraine, it is named the Holodomor, which means ‘Terror Famine’. It was orchestrated by Stalin in 1932 and resulted within the deaths of tens of millions.

“Ukrainians are a stoic however warm-hearted folks, consumed by their starvation for freedom. Now that they’ve had a style of it, having gained their independence pretty lately, they won’t give it up.

“The people of Ireland have already extended a hugely warm welcome to the first arrivals. Helping them integrate safely into our society should be our first priority. Many will be traumatised, but our kindness will help them heal.”

Daria Blackwell’s weblog is


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