IRELAND has been an attractive destination for Slovak migrants in recent years and there are currently more than 20,000 Slovaks living there. Despite the severe effect that the global financial crisis has had on the Irish economy, Slovaks continue to arrive – and bring with them some of their customs and traditions.
Apart from their own folklore ensemble, Ostrohy (Spurs), the Education Centre for Slovak Children, and a magazine, Slovak in Ireland (SII), Slovaks now also have a place to meet: a recently opened community centre.
The Slovak in Ireland House opened its doors on June 16, 2011, in Dublin, at the presence of the head of the Office of Slovaks Living Abroad Milan Vetrák and Slovak Ambassador to Ireland Roman Bužek. The centre was named after the magazine, whose editorial staff are the principal tenants of the building.
“The idea of establishing the Slovak in Ireland House occurred gradually,” the magazine's editor-in-chief, Eva Kapičáková, told The Slovak Spectator, adding that the magazine needed a place where its editors would be able to prepare issues.
“We were preparing the paper in my kitchen, recording the videos in other people’s houses and doing interviews in pubs or restaurants,” she said. “One evening we were drinking whiskey with an Irishman who offered us the building for a very good rent.”
Except for the magazine, the centre houses a library that offers readers access to up to 600 Slovak books. It also serves as a gallery for members of a Czech-Slovak club of photographers to exhibit their pictures, and as a venue for various lectures and activities for children.
“Everybody who has any hobby which might be interesting for the community can come,” Kapičáková says. “We are open for all Slovak nationals.”
Though it will start full operations only in September, Kapičáková says that they have already had some successful projects. Together with Ambassador Bužek, and the Slovak Film Institute they have opened the Slovak Cinema Club, thanks to which members of community can watch Slovak films made in the 1960s and 70s. In cooperation with Radio Slovakia USA they also plan to start broadcasting to Slovak nationals.
22. Aug 2011 at 0:00 | Radka Minarechova