When it comes to Polish – Irish relations many of us would be forgiven for believing that this is relatively recent development.
A recently erected plaque to honour Polish man Sir Paweł Edmund Strzelecki commemorates the work he carried out to help the Irish during the Famine.
Strzelecki was an explorer and a geologist who spent his early life in Australia. He later settled in Britain and became a British citizen.
It was at that time that he became aware of the plight of the Irish. He toured Ireland and reported back to the England of the great hardship the people were suffering as a result of the potato blight.
In 1846, he was assigned the position of Agent of the British Relief Association to supervise the distribution of famine relief in Mayo and Sligo.
In the following years, he worked tirelessly for the welfare of the sick and hungry in Ireland, before finally returning to London, where he died and was buried in 1873.
In 1997, his remains were transferred to the crypt of merit of St Wojciech Church in his home town Poznan in Poland.
It was interesting to see many years later thousands of Irish soccer fans visit his home city of Poznan and enjoy the hospitality of the locality.
The bonds between Ireland and Poland seem destined to continue for many years into the future.
Here are some useful links of interest:
Tracey Solicitors – providing legal services to members of the Polish community in Ireland