On March 28, the Lithuanian Association in Ireland celebrated a decade of their activity. In Dublin, Hilton Hotel, an appreciation event "A Flight of A White Bird" has been organised for this beautiful occasion.
Irish Lithuanian community ten-year anniversary event. Photo by Renata Dapšytė

"Today, seeing you all gathered to the evening, I can bravely say that Lithuanians living in Ireland are creative, loving life and sharing it with other people. They came to this country over the ten years and not only organises festivals and holidays, but also have established Lithuanian schools during this period, talented directors gathered actors to the activity of amateur theatre, some poetry evenings and lots of other events have been organised that we can be proud of today. During this decade, the Lithuanian community gave the meaning to every day, which is like a new flight, another high-sounding word for the world that Lithuania can be proud of people who live and work here," the president of Lithuanian association in Dublin Rasa Raižienė welcomed the guests.

Arūnas Teišerskis, who came to Ireland ten years ago, from the very beginning started to look around and to wonder what his countrymen were doing and where they were meeting. "When I started to work in Dublin University, I found a link that Lithuanians were gathering in one pub," the president of the Lithuanian Association in Ireland shared his memories. "I remember the time I entered the pub so bashfully, in fear to see my countrymen whooping, drinking beer and ready to talk to me strictly. After all, a person who comes to Ireland usually gets this kind of information. Purportedly, emigrants living here are interested only in work and fun. And I was pleasantly surprised. The people there approached me pleasantly and asked what I did, suggested to join the Lithuanian school establishment team. Since I had never done that, I agreed instantly. Each experience, each new step in making beautiful actions, rounds up more and more enthusiasts, more people who are gifted with talents, creativity and the most important – love for the fellow-man."

Lithuanian Ambassador in Ireland Rasa Adomaitienė, who came to the Lithuanian Association in Ireland's decadal evening, brought greetings and presents from Lithuanian Minister of Foreign affairs Linas Linkevičius. The minister is truly grateful to the Lithuanian Association in Ireland for preserving its Lithuanian heritage, educating the younger generation, nurturing traditions. "Although you are a young community, we are proud of you and wish you to keep honouring your country with your events, honest work," the ambassador congratulate the community with the words of the minister.

Three years ago during the first Lithuanian Association in Ireland's event "A Flight of A White Bird", wooden sculptures of a white bird have been given.

"Life is too short, we are always in a hurry and do not notice the good work. Appreciation evening – it's an occasion to think about kindness, sensibility. White birds are invisible in the dark, however you can hear their song."

Celebrating the tenth anniversary, the most outstanding members of the Lithuanian Association in Ireland were given statuettes of flying birds designed by sculptor from Alytus Kęstutis Benediktas.

The statuette of a white bird has been given to the priest-chaplain of Lithuanian Catholic Mission in Ireland Egidijus Arnašis, who is know by the young and by the old. He greets everyone who come to the house of God with a divine warmth and care. The priest rejoice together and if troubles and misfortunes appear, he always finds time to comfort, understand and sympathize. The priest in vivacious mood wished everyone to become a members of the community and not to forget that a fellow-man will give you a hand in joy and trouble.

Celebrating an 80-year anniversary when Feliksas Vaitkus with the plain "Lituanica II" repeated the flight of Darius and Girėnas over the Atlantic Ocean and landed in Ireland's County Mayo, near the town of Ballinrobe, Mayo Lithuanian community organises the reunion "We still need wings" for several years now. The statuette of a white bird to the Mayo Lithuanian community for the nurturance of the traditions was given.

"I am deeply touched," said Renata Dapšytė, holding the statuette in her hands. This young woman captures the most memorable moments of the community for five years. When others sing, act or share their stories about events and reunions, Renata searches for shots for historical chronicle, organises photos at night by her computer, in order they would reach the guests and attendance of events as soon as possible.

When the hosts of the evening started to announce another nomination, all the attendance started to chant the name Laima. The founder of Lithuanian theatre "Alternative for the Alternative" Laima Prokofjevienė is a director, who brings a piece of a miracle to the audience. She have produced more than one performance for her countrymen by establishing Lithuanian amateur theatre.

The culmination of a white bird statuette ceremony was the last nomination for the man, whose contribution to the Lithuanian Association in Ireland is exceptional. It is the initiator of one of the biggest Lithuanian schools in Europe "4 winds", also the initiator of the reunion "We still need wings", thanks to her Lithuanians in Ireland has the catholic mission and Lithuanian masses for ten years already. The members of the community, who gathered to the thanksgiving evening, greeted the first Lithuanian ambassador in Ireland Izolda Bričkovskienė in standing ovations. She currently works in Norway, so a white bird will be flown to this country.

After the official part ended and all the nominations were announced, the members of the Lithuanian Association in Ireland were congratulated for the tenth anniversary by the musical programme of Neda Malūnavičiūtė and Olegas Ditkovskis, who came from Lithuania.

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