Dear Madam/Sir!

I welcome you on behalf of all my colleagues at the Embassy on our website. I hope that you will be able to find the information you need; in case you cannot or you have further questions, feel free to contact the Embassy either by phone or e-mail.

Hungary and Ireland have had quite a lot in common in their histories despite the relatively large distance between them. We may mention, among others, the ”Irish Madonna” in Győr in western Hungary. The icon was brought into Hungary in the 17th century and it has been a shrine for both Hungarian and Irish pilgrims ever since then. About two hundred years later Daniel O’Connell, the then leader of the Irish emancipation movement, chose Lajos Kossuth as one of his role models. Baron József Eötvös wrote an influential study upon the parallels between contemporary Hungarian and Irish economic plight during the so-called Reform Age in Hungary. It was the well known Irish figure Sir Roger Casement who assisted Lajos Kossuth in leaving his exile in Turkey for the much-acclaimed and historic trip to the United States and then to Great Britain in the early 1850s. Arthur Griffith, one of the most prominent leaders of the Irish independence movement in the early 20th century, held Hungary high as an example in his book The Resurrection of Hungary. Ireland opened its borders to hundreds of Hungarian refugees after the suppression of the Reveolution of 1956. James Joyce, who is arguably the best-known Irish author, inserted references to Hungary in his seminal Ulysses. There is a Joyce Society in Hungary, and Irish Studies are taught at various colleges and universities through out Hungary.

Hungary and Ireland share common values besides historical, religious and cultural ties. Both nations are members of the European Union; Ireland was one of the three countries (besides Sweden and the United Kingdom) that opened its labour market to the Hungarians in 2004. Thanks partly to this decision, some 25,000 Hungarians have taken up jobs in Ireland in the past few years. Though the economic recession has reduced their number, there are still thousands of Hungarians who live and work in Ireland nowadays. At the same time, The Irish entrepreneurs and tourists have also ”discovered” Hungary. It is primarily hotel trade, the real estate market, the pharmaceutical industry as well as financial services that have attracted the attention of the Irish business people in Hungary. Unfortunately, the economic recession has affected the bilateral trade and financial relations adversely but there is hope that the bilateral relations will receive new impulses in these areas as well in the near future.

Perhaps the most important fields for mutual understanding are education, science and culture. A relatively high number of Irish undergraduates have been studying in Hungary, and somewhat fewer Hungarian students have taken advantage of the excellent opportunities in Ireland. Scientific exchange programs have been realised in various fields between the appropriate institutions of the two countries recently. Irish music has acquired extreme popularity in Hungary, while Hungarian music is also present in the Irish cultural life, partly thanks to the efforts of the Kodály Choir based in Dublin.

Each member of the Embassy Staff is keen on promoting Hungarian-Irish relations in all walks of life and on facilitating mutual understanding between the two peoples. Naturally, we alone are not able to achieve these goals; to realise them we need the cooperation and support of all those Hungarian and Irish people who think it important that the two nations, which have been bonded together by so many links in the past, should develop ever closer relations in the present and future too.

Dr. Tamás Magyarics