On 10 March 2023, the Irish Students of the College of Europe in Natolin, together with the Student Affairs and Professional Development Office (SAPDO), orchestrated a vibrant celebration of the Irish National Day. The event was marked by a range of cultural and sportive activities, including traditional Irish music, dance performances, exhibitions, Gaelic football.
On 8 March, the Irish students organized the screening of the prize-winning film "The Banshees of Inisherin" for their fellow classmates, which has received critical acclaim for its powerful performances, evocative cinematography, and poignant themes. In addition to its cultural significance, "The Banshees of Inisherin" is also a testament to the quality of Ireland's film industry. With its beautiful landscapes, nuanced characters, and expert storytelling, the film showcases the country's rich artistic talent and serves as a testament to Ireland's growing reputation as a hub of creative innovation.
The following day the Irish students organized a Gaelic football session, a traditional Irish sport. Despite the challenging weather conditions, with snow covering the ground, the Gaelic football practice went ahead undaunted. The Irish students were eager to share this beloved sport with their classmates and showcase the unique cultural traditions that it represents.
On 10 March, the main day of celebrations started with an Irish language, or Gaeilge, workshop offered by the students. As the old saying goes, “Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam” (A country without a language is a country without a soul). The workshop covered the history, legacy, and future of the Irish language, a symbol of national identity and a vital component of the country's cultural heritage having survived numerous attempts at suppression and marginalization, and which has recently gained full official and working status in the European Union.
In the Włodkowic student residence lobby an exhibition was held highlighting the lives and legacies of 21 Irish diaspora women in the fields of politics, humanitarianism, women's suffrage, arts, science and sport. It is a fraction of the many women who made lasting contributions in their areas of works but have rarely received recognition, like Eileen Gray, Dame Ninette de Valois, Lola Ridge, Fanny Isabel Parnell, Aleen Cust, etc.
In the evening, on the 50th anniversary of Ireland's membership in the European Union, an exhibition was organized in the Retinger lobby to commemorate this milestone achievement. The exhibition was inaugurated by the Ambassador of Ireland to Poland, H.E. Patrick HAUGHEY, who delivered a speech highlighting the significance of Ireland's EU membership and its valuable contribution to the Union. The exhibition itself showcased Ireland's journey as a member of the EU through photographs, and other historical documents.
The Natolin student restaurant hosted an authentic dining experience for all guests that transported them back in time to an ancient Irish Feast. The evening was filled with traditional Irish dishes, and captivating performances of Ancient Irish Myths and Legends by the Irish students such as How Setanta became CúChulainn, The Brown Bull of Cooley, and Diarmuid and Grainne.
Irish culture is renowned for its rich traditions of music and dance, and a concert was held at the auditorium Copernicus in celebration of these traditions, featuring performances from the Damsha Alainn Irish dance group and the Emeralds band. The evening began with a mesmerizing performance by the Damsha Alainn group, which showcased their mastery of traditional Irish dance. They captivated the audience with their intricate footwork, graceful movements, and lively rhythms, bringing the spirit of Ireland to life on stage.
Next, the Emeralds band took to the stage, armed with bodhran, banjo, guitar, and fiddle. The Irish students also joined the band on stage, adding their own unique flair to the music with their vocals. They delighted the audience with their energetic and soulful renditions of classic Irish songs such as Galway Girl, The Star of the County Down, Mo ghile mear, The Fields of Athenry widely considered to be the popular anthem of Ireland, as well as a number of other beloved Irish classics. Throughout the concert, the audience was transported to the heart of Ireland, experiencing the magic of Irish music and dance first hand. The performers received a well-deserved standing ovation, with the audience showing their appreciation for the beauty and talent on display.
We renew our congratulations to the Irish students on the success of their National Day highlighting the universal appeal of Ireland's vibrant cultural heritage and creating a sense of community.
Check out some photos from the event below, and all events taking place at Natolin on our Flickr: