Citizenship ceremony in Dublin sees 480 new Irish take oath
Candidates from 68 countries include 85 from Poland
Sylwia Zablotna, originally from Poland, received Irish citizenship at the NCH ceremony. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Miriam Kaczor, originally from Poland, received Irish citizenship at the NCH ceremony. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Lina Chen originally from China, received Irish citizenship at the NCH ceremony. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Xue Han, originally from China but now living in Carlow with daughter Elizabeth Rose (4), received Irish citizenship at the NCH ceremony. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Laura Babille, originally from Mauritius, received Irish citizenship at the NCH ceremony. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Agnieszka Warno and her husband Marek, both received Irish citizenship at the NCH ceremony. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Just moments after taking her oath of Irish citizenship, Miriam Kaczar stepped on to the stage of the National Concert Hall (NCH) in Dublin, flute in hand, to perform the national anthem.
With an array of classical music accolades under her belt and a long-standing relationship with Ireland, neither the venue nor song felt unnatural to her.
“Today feels like a very natural thing,” Ms Kaczar said just after the ceremony concluded. “My whole conscious life has been lived here in Dublin.”
Originally from Poland, Ms Kaczar moved to Ireland right after completing her primary school education, and has played the flute for as long as she can remember. Now studying in London, she says she misses the Irish Sea and the cliffs that she could so easily reach when she lived in Dublin.
Ms Kaczar was one of the 480 candidates from 68 countries receiving their official citizenship at the NCH on Monday.
Those holding Polish nationality made up 85 of the newly-proclaimed Irish citizens, representing the largest share of any national background.
The second-largest representation was from the United Kingdom, with 47 British recipients at the ceremony.
David Bacon, originally from England, had arrived in Ireland in 2005 with his Irish wife, Aisling, whom he married in 2001.
Now a resident of Co Offaly, he sees Ireland as his home and says he very much identifies with Irish culture and life. “I always thought about citizenship, and when Brexit landed I knew I had to do it sooner rather than later.”
While he and his wife returned to Offaly immediately after the ceremony, many planned to celebrate with a meal out in the city.
Aggy Tolya, originally from Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, was planning to dine out for lunch with her best friend, adding that alongside her love of its people, she does not particularly mind the Irish weather.
Jacques Kriek, who relocated to Ireland 17 years ago from Bloemfontein in South Africa, was also headed out for a meal to mark the occasion. When asked about his favourite thing about Ireland, he immediately answered, “my partner, Edel”.
During the ceremony, many relatives and friends seated in the balcony strained to get a shot of their loved one in the audience below. After the candidates repeated the oath announced by retired District Court judge Paddy McMahon, hugs and handshakes were shared amongst newly-proclaimed fellow citizens.
Both Mr McMahon and Minister for Justice and Equality TD Charlie Flanagan recognised the diversity before them in their official remarks.
In his opening address, Mr Flanagan expressed his hopes for their future as Irish citizens and recognised their own contribution to Ireland, saying: “The narrative of your life is a new part of our history.”