In this episode of No Place Like Home Bob Kelly travels to Pulawy on the Vistula and Kurówka Rivers in eastern Poland to meet the family and friends of Piotr Typiak.
Piotr came to Ireland for love, rather than money, but found both. He met an Irish girl in Poland and followed her back to Ireland. The relationship didn't work out, but the country did. Piotr now has his own building supplies company and lives with his Polish girlfriend, who has just had their first baby called Patricia. Piotr's father and brother have also moved over and are living with the young couple in Raheen, Limerick.
Bob travels to Warsaw and then drives to Pulawy, best known for its nitrates factory, with a message for Piotr's mother, who misses her husband and her two sons. Like many Polish mothers she has lost her family to Ireland's burgeoning economy. In Poland, Bob discovers a country, much like Ireland in the 80s, bereft of its greatest asset - its young people. It is evident that the future prosperity of Pulawy and Poland generally depends on remittances from the Polish Diaspora - people like Piotr Typiak.
Bob's Highlights in Poland
- Bob fulfilled a fantasy of drinking vodka with lonely women, as all the men of working age are abroad, which leaves a country full of wives and girlfriends!
- Bob hired an old Polski Fiat 127 to drive to Piotr's town. He found it reminiscent of driving to Ballybunion in 1975
- Before Bob left any house or anyone, he had to drink a toast: a mug of vodka each time, "softened" by a chaser of Orange Juice
- Normally, participants suggest that Bob visit great landmarks in their country: a mountain, a temple, a waterfall, etc. Piotr wanted Bob to visit his local boozer!
- Bob's "guide" and translator was a guitarist in a heavy metal band, and the crew van was the roadie's van - the band agreed that there had probably been more sex on the back seat than they cared to remember.
- The guy who hired Bob the old Polski Fiat obviously spent the money he paid him the night before - every time the crew pulled in, he ran over to the ditch and puked. He said it was an ear infection!
An estimated 38.2 million
Covering an area of 312,685 sq km, Poland is the largest country in central Europe. Poland is mainly a flat country: most lies at an altitude of less than 200 meters above sea level. This fertile country is traversed by large and slow moving rivers, such as the Vistula.
Most of Poland has a very similar climate and the same sequence of weather throughout the year. Winter cold increases towards the east and in the southern mountains, while the coastlands of the Baltic Sea have slightly milder winters and cooler summers.
Did you know?
The most popular name for a dog in Poland is Burek (meaning a brownish-grey colour).
In Poland most Poles consider their name day (in Polish: "imieniny") more important than their birthdays. People with the same day celebrate on the same day each year. Poland and Ireland
Since May 2004, some 120,000 new PPS numbers have been issued to Polish people living and working in Ireland. Poles are now the largest ethnic group in Ireland.
Pope John Paul II