Friends in Times of Turmoil Exhibition at PRONI

Date published: 02 May 2018

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRON) will host a celebration of Polish culture on Thursday 3 May at 7pm.

In a unique event, PRONI will launch the latest travelling exhibition to visit its Titanic Quarter based premises. Through the exhibition, visitors will be able to explore the fascinating life story of Consul Wacław Dobrzyński, who was appointed as the first Polish diplomat to Ireland in 1929.


“Friends in Times of Turmoil” was created by the Polish Embassy in Dublin in 2017. The exhibition tells the story of Consul Dobrzyński who played a central role in establishing diplomatic relations and friendship between Ireland and Poland in the twentieth century.


Dr Michael Willis, PRONI’s Director said: “We are very pleased to welcome the “Friends in Times of Turmoil” exhibition to PRONI.  Around 30,000 Polish people are believed to be currently living in Northern Ireland. This is not a particularly new community, but one that has had its roots in Northern Ireland for almost a century. The most effective way to understand another community is through learning their history and sharing their experience. This exhibition provides us with a fascinating insight into the life and career of Consul Dobrzyński, and the story of the evolution of Irish–Polish relations, in which he played a crucial part.”


“From the moment he set foot in Ireland, Dobrzyński became deeply infatuated with the country and her people. In total, he spent 34 years in Ireland, of which 25 years were in diplomatic service, making him the longest-serving foreign diplomat in the history of the Irish State.”


The exhibition has been brought to Northern Ireland by the Polish Consulate and For Your Freedom and Ours, a Belfast-based social enterprise which aims to discover, promote and celebrate shared history.


Maciek Bator, Project Manager at For Your Freedom & Ours said: “This year the Polish government will be opening a full time Consulate in Belfast, starting a new chapter in Polish – Northern Irish relations. Friends In Times of Turmoil exhibition is focusing on the history of the first Polish diplomat to Ireland, who was not only responsible for establishing a relationship between the young states of Ireland and Poland in the 20th century, but also involuntarily caused the demotion of President Douglas Hyde as GAA chairman.  We would like to dedicate this event in memory of the Polish Consul General Dariusz Adler, who suddenly passed away last month.”


“Friends in Times of Turmoil” will be launched at PRONI on 3 May at 7pm with a presentation by Professor Jan Jędrzejewski entitled, 'Not Quite Poles Apart: Hiberno-Polish Literary and Cultural Relations from the Perspective of Northern Ireland’.


For more information about the exhibition and launch event, visit:

Notes to editors: 

  1. The “Friends in Times of Turmoil” exhibition will be available to view in the PRONI atrium until 25 May 2018.
  2. For Your Freedom & Ours runs an educational campaign providing shared history programmes between Poland and Northern Ireland to ensure a better integration of the communities. It aims to tackle prejudice, discrimination and hate crime as well as foster community relations.
  3. Professor Jan Jędrzejewski is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Ulster University.
  4. PRONI is at 2 Titanic Boulevard, Titanic Quarter, Belfast.  For details on opening hours, see or call 028 90 534800.
  5. Follow us on twitter @CommunitiesNI
  6. For media enquiries please contact the DfC Press Office on 028 90 823 509 or mail For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number on 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.

Share this page

Back to top