4:00 PM, 26 Nov 2020 - , Online

Poles in University College Cork after World War Two

History Research Seminar Series (papers)

School of History

University College Cork (UCC), Ireland


Tomorrow Thursday 26 November 2020, 16.00 (4 PM)


Dr Bozena Cierlik, School of History, University College Cork, presenting:

‘Poles in University College Cork after World War Two; “I think we should do all in our power to help as the British nor the Americans are likely to do anything for these people”’

Participation: MS Teams invitation: see link in this message; links can be sent by e-mail on request (email Jérôme aan de Wiel: j.aandewiel@ucc.ie)



In the first years after WWII, thousands of Poles, who were refugees in Britain, were transferring from army to civilian life. There were pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain, Polish Army soldiers and other political refugees and their families. In 1945, UCC President Professor Alfred O’Rahilly offered places in the university to a group of Polish students and he discussed similar arrangements to be finalised in University College Galway and University College Dublin. A first group of students travelled from Britain to Ireland in the academic year 1946/47 and other groups followed for several years. It is an extraordinary and forgotten story of help and acceptance of foreign nationals in post-war Ireland driven by the efforts of Professor O’Rahilly.


Dr Bozena Cierlik, School of History, UCC, was recently was awarded prestigious Bene Merito honorary distinction, conferred upon the citizens of the Republic of Poland and foreign nationals in recognition of their merits in promoting Poland abroad. It is awarded by the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Minister’s own initiative or upon the request of other ministers or heads of Polish diplomatic missions, in this case by the Polish ambassador and Consular section in Dublin.

Her newest publication Polish and Irish struggles for self-determination; Living near Dragons (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020) is a critical reflection on the road to national independence in Poland and Ireland on the centenary of the reshaping of modern Europe. This book discusses how the Poles and Irish fought for and achieved the right for self-determination, and how these efforts also impacted the civilizational achievement of women’s enfranchisement

All welcome. Organised by School of History, UCC

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