By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 27 April 2022 • 22:44
Medieval Irish Castle opened to Ukrainian refugees
Source: Visit Galway
The 15th-century home belongs to an Irishman who lives in Madrid along with his Irish wife, but with no room in his home he decided to open up their second home.
Whilst most of us are offering some standard accommodation these families are being put up in Ballindooley Castle in County Galway. Haughian (pronounced HOY-en) who really felt he needed to help, flew to Poland where he picked up a group of eleven refugees, some from Mariupol, and others from Dnipro.
Haughian told Reuters: “We were emotional wrecks for probably more than a week. We weren’t sure what we were doing, and just trying to make things better for them.
“So now, every week it gets better… You can see the weight coming off their shoulders. We’ve got people dropping in all the time trying to help them. It’s a real ‘céad míle fáilte’ (a hundred thousand welcomes) from the people of Ireland.”
For the families who have moved into the castle it has been a dream as it has allowed them to stay together, with the kids being able to enjoy the castle grounds and even celebrate a birthday.
The family have settled in well according to Haughian with five of the group having already found employment including Maria Nazarchuk, who works at a garden centre near the castle. She told Reuters that she hopes to continue her accounting studies at the National University of Galway in September.
Ireland has been one the most welcoming nations in Europe, and despite its distance from the war torn country it has been able to take in more than its fair share of refugees. When national registration opened via the Irish Red Cross to hosting Ukrainians, the website crashed due to the number of applicants.
The family says that locals have been fantastic with neighbours regularly dropping supplies off, helping them to settle down in their new temporary accommodation, a Medieval Irish Castle.
Well done Haughian!
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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