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Conference - Paths to Independence: Ireland and Poland, 1914

On Tuesday 31 May, the Embassy and the University of Warsaw’s Institute of History hosted an international conference on Ireland and Poland’s paths to independence.

Ambassador Gerard Keown opening the Paths to Independence conference

Image: Ambassador Gerard Keown opening the Paths to Independence conference

The conference took place in the University of Warsaw’s Sala Kolumnowa. Topics covered included Irish and Polish experiences of WWI, how the Rising was received in Poland, attempts to secure independence at the Paris Peace Conference, and different visions of the Irish and Polish states.

Opening Address by Professor Roy Foster of Oxford University

Image: Opening Address by Professor Roy Foster of Oxford University

Professor Roy Foster, Carroll Professor of Irish History at Oxford University, gave the opening address in which he noted that the theme of rebellion is an important part of historical memory in Ireland and Poland. Professor Foster spoke about the link between romantic literature and insurrectionary politics in both Ireland and Poland, and about Ireland’s revolutionary generation.

Dr. Katarzyna Sierakowska (Polish Academy of Sciences), Dr. Edward Madigan (Royal Holloway, University of London), Dr. Piotr Szlanta (University of Warsaw) and Prof. Jerzy Kochanowski (University of Warsaw) discussing Polish and Irish experiences of WWI

Image: Dr. Katarzyna Sierakowska (Polish Academy of Sciences), Dr. Edward Madigan (Royal Holloway, University of London), Dr. Piotr Szlanta (University of Warsaw) and Prof. Jerzy Kochanowski (University of Warsaw) discussing Polish and Irish experiences of WWI

Over the course of four panel sessions, historians explored the similarities and differences between the Irish and Polish experiences in the turbulent period from 1914 to 1923. In Ireland, the Easter Rising of 1916 led to the establishment of an Irish state in 1922. These years are also a seminal period in Polish history, witnessing the restoration of Polish independence in 1918 and efforts to secure Poland’s borders in the face of challenge from the east. Both countries emerged from conflict at the start of the 1920s to build institutions of state and economy, to chart a future for their people and to secure their place in a transformed Europe.

History students in the University of Warsaw - Nina Hetmańska, Paweł Mrowiński and Łukasz Świder - discussing the Irish Question 1914-1916 with Dr. Michał Leśniewski and Dr. Dobrochna Kałwa of the University of Warsaw

Image: History students in the University of Warsaw - Nina Hetmańska, Paweł Mrowiński and Łukasz Świder - discussing the Irish Question 1914-1916 with Dr. Michał Leśniewski and Dr. Dobrochna Kałwa of the University of Warsaw

The Embassy thanks the University of Warsaw for their cooperation in organising this event and all of the speakers and moderators who contributed to the success of the conference.

Dr. Sławomir Dębski, Director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs, discusses Polish issues at the Paris Peace Conference on a panel moderated by Ambassador Gerard Keown

Image: Dr. Sławomir Dębski, Director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs, discusses Polish issues at the Paris Peace Conference on a panel moderated by Ambassador Gerard Keown

Dr. Lauren Arrington (Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool) discussing Ireland’s Bloody Sunday and the paths to independence of Constance and Casimir Markievicz

 Image: Dr. Lauren Arrington (Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool) discussing Ireland’s Bloody Sunday and the paths to independence of Constance and Casimir Markievicz

 Dr. Conor Mulvagh of University College Dublin presenting on the different visions of an independent Ireland in 1916 on a panel with Dr. Bożena Cierlik (UCC), Dr. August Grabski (University of Warsaw) and Dr. Michał Leśniewski (University of Warsaw)

Image: Dr. Conor Mulvagh of University College Dublin presenting on the different visions of an independent Ireland in 1916 on a panel with Dr. Bożena Cierlik (UCC), Dr. August Grabski (University of Warsaw) and Dr. Michał Leśniewski (University of Warsaw)

Dr. Bożena Cierlik of University College Cork 

Image: Dr. Bożena Cierlik of University College Cork