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Fairwell to the Eskrainians

It was a coffee morning to say goodbye – as Esker monastery marked the departure of the Ukrainian residents who had been housed in the former Redemptorist buildings since July 2022.

Organised by CURVE (the Committee of Ukrainian Residents and Volunteers in Esker), the gathering was attended by the last remaining 30 or so residents of Esker, local people and volunteers, as well as other fellow Ukrainians living in nearby Kiltullagh, Attymon and Monivea and some based further afield in south Galway and Tullamore.

Refreshments were provided by local coffee truck Little Spoon and the event was supported by the Communities Integration Fund.

It was an emotional day as people said goodbye to each other and to Esker, a place which was the first place of refuge in Ireland for them.

And yet it seems no length since the monastery opened its doors in July 2022 to approximately 150 people as part of Ireland’s efforts to support refugees from the war in Ukraine.

Over the last 21 months, many of those people have left Esker either to return to Ukraine or to move to another country, while some took up offers of pledged accommodation elsewhere in Ireland.

As the number of residents in Esker has declined in recent months, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, which has responsibility for accommodating refugees, has taken the decision to relocate the remaining Ukrainian residents elsewhere in Ireland.

A recent appeal by CURVE in the local media has resulted in some offers of accommodation for single adults who are working in the area, but most will be relocated.

Since July 2022, the Ukrainian people in Esker – or the Eskrainians, as they’ve become known – have been supported by CURVE whose efforts morphed from ‘donating to advocating and integrating’.

Caption: Last goodbyes…departing Ukrainians and their now-lifelong friends from CURVE and beyond gather in Esker for one final time.

This is part of an article written by CURVE members Majella O’Dea and Mairead Seery (Chairperson). Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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