Subsequent month Annascaul will host a uncommon occasion within the social and cultural calendar of West Kerry – a summer season truthful to rejoice 30 years of diplomacy and friendship between Eire and Slovenia.
his comes about because of Ines Zdesar, the President of the Slovenian Irish Affiliation who comes from the coastal city of Ankaran close to the border between Slovenia and Italy, however now calls Annascaul house.
In 2014 Ines got here to Inch to work in Sammy’s store and restaurant, figuring out nothing about West Kerry aside from what she heard from a pal with a Slovenian mom and a father from Cloghane. She by no means deliberate to remain for lengthy in Eire however then she met Annascaul builder Eoin Knightly and in 2018 they opened the Shadow River Farm, which they run within the type of a Slovenian ‘agri-tourismo’, offering lodging and full board in a farm setting.
For all Ines knew at the moment she may need been the one Slovenian individual in West Kerry, or in Eire. She didn’t give it a lot thought both till the Slovenian Embassy in Dublin reopened in 2021, after being closed for 9 years, and he or she took on the duty of managing a Fb group for the Slovenian Irish Affiliation, which known as Detelca – the Slovenian phrase for ‘shamrock’.
“There was a whole lot of curiosity within the Fb group. The Slovenian Ambassador contacted us and supplied help and it organically grew from there. Now it has 1,800 members,” mentioned Ines.
Not very many Slovenians stay in Eire. The 2016 Census recorded about 1,000, plus Erasmus college students and despite the fact that Ines reckons the quantity could have grown following Brexit there are nonetheless solely “a handful” in West Kerry.
Based on Ines, many Slovenians know of Eire via James Joyce who lived for a time within the previously Slovenian metropolis of Trieste. In addition they have a specific attachment to Eire as a result of it was the primary European nation to acknowledge Slovenia as an unbiased democracy after the break-up of the previous Yugoslavia.
The help that got here from Eire at that important juncture in Slovenia’s historical past means lots to Ines, who is very pleased with her native nation. She didn’t choose that delight up off the bottom – her grandmother Olga Druzina, who died final yr aged 101, was Slovenia’s most embellished partisan fighter in World Struggle II and he or she went on to change into a lifelong collaborator with President Tito.
To rejoice her place of origin and its connections with Eire, Ines held an Easter gathering at her house in Annascaul the place she welcomed a small gathering of Slovenian individuals from Kerry, Cork and as far-off as Amsterdam.
Final week, on Slovenian Statehood Day, she introduced Slovenian Ambassador to Eire Stanislav Vidovic with a Dingle Crystal plate, and the newly appointed Irish Ambassador to Slovenia, Adrian Farrell, was introduced with a replica of June McIntyre and Dairena Ní Chinnéide’s e-book, ‘Scáil’.
The Slovenian – Irish connection might be additional cemented on Sunday, August 7, when Ines hosts a summer season truthful in Shadow River Farm the place there might be Slovenian and Irish music, a lot of meals, conventional out of doors video games, and talks on historical past.
“I feel one of the best ways to characterize the nation is thru music and meals, and depart the politics behind,” mentioned Ines. “We need to rejoice our independence, our hyperlinks with Eire and our gratitude for Eire’s recognition of Slovenia in 1991.”