Dotting the 'I' in IHBC
Ireland and Hungary share a love of music, art, and literature. Connections between the two countries abound, with Celtic rock bands like Firkin
and the more traditional Green Spirit
capturing the essence of Irish music.
The famous Madonna painting
that hangs in the cathedral in Győr was bequeathed to the parish in 1663 by Bishop Walter Lynch from Clonfert, Co. Galway, in thanks for the refuge provided when he fled Ireland and the persecution of Cromwell. Along with Yeats and Heaney, James Joyce is a much-celebrated figure, as in his book Ulysses, Joyce births Leopold Bloom's father, Rudolph Virag, in Szombathely. Indeed, the illustrator of the book, one Ferenc Martyn (born Kaposvár, 1899; died Pécs, 1986) had Irish roots. Culturally, the links between our countries are strong.
The lure of Gypsy music enticed two Irish violinists to Hungary. Walter Starkie, the first professor of Spanish at Trinity College Dublin, looked for Gypsy music throughout Hungary and Romania and wrote of his adventures in Raggle-Taggle,
which published in 1933. Nearly 40 years later, Peter O'Connor would follow in Starkie's footsteps and write up his account in 1971 in Walking Good: Travels to Music in Hungary and Romania.