The historical study of Poland and Ireland is considered to be a new research area. Until now, the subject of both countries in diametrically opposed areas of Europe – in the historical dimension – has generally been overlooked. It is only in the last few years that has this topic been addressed by a small group of researchers, and the undoubted stimulus for this was the relatively recent enlargement of the European Union in 2004. This stronger integration of the two nations has also significantly influenced scientific development through the search for deeper elements of a common history.
In the view of the editors, this pioneering research project will contribute to the establishment and popularisation of Poland and the Poles, as well as Ireland and the Irish, in the historical discourse of both countries and will thus have a much greater European dimension than heretofore. Above all, it will contribute to the significant progress already being made towards the development of Polish-Irish historical studies.
The aim of the project is to differentiate the relations between Poland and Ireland, especially, but not exclusively, in relation to the nineteenth century, which in many ways is a special period in our common history, in order to present the particular similarities between the Poles and the Irish, which led to direct and advanced relations between representatives of both nations. At that time, these relationships were extraordinary in their intensity and nature.
This project will also include a comparative study of the national processes of nineteenth-century Ireland and Poland, including an analysis of the major similarities and differences in the early stages of the formation of the two modern nations. This, in turn, will reveal the deeper reasons for the perception of Ireland and Poland at the time as ‘sisters’ in the struggle for freedom, as well as having a general impact on our view of this dynamic period in European history. In terms of the present, the project will have a strong social dimension, referring to the currently changing social structure of Ireland – one that has enabled more than 120,000 Poles living in Ireland, as well as those who were born there and now live in Poland, to identify more deeply with both countries. In this way, the project may contribute to even greater harmony and to the promotion of further European integration.
The effects of the project will present our Polish-Irish history from yet another, much deeper perspective. It is also intended to reveal – through extensive research and critical analysis of varied archival material – the profound dimension of common nineteenth-century comparisons and analogies referring to Poles and Irish.
The current interdisciplinary project has been undertaken with the support of Professor Józef Dobosz, Dean of the Faculty of History of the Adam Mickiewicz University, and under the patronage of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, which is the most advanced academic centre in the field of Polish-Irish historical research.
Dr Adam A. Kucharski and Dr Robert T. Tomczak