The Polish community in the Republic of Ireland comprised 2.7% of the population according to 2011 census figures, making it the largest minority in the country and that percentage is likely to have risen in the years since.
It’s therefore unsurprising that many Irish/Polish families have sprouted up during the 21st century and one such family is that of award-winning Irish filmmaker Graham Jones whose youngest son Aidan is half-Irish and half-Polish.
His new movie The History Student tells the story of a seven-year-old boy from Ireland, who is spending a rural summer holiday in his mother’s native Poland and on strict instructions to speak only that country’s language – when he finds the words to ask where aliens fit into nature, it stirs memories of her own childhood when the answer was clear.
“Aidan hadn’t seen his hermetic grandfather in Poland for many years, so we traipsed out to his forest hut in Włocławek over the summer,” says Jones. “I thought it would be really nice to document the experience on camera, for when my son is older. Within days I found myself making a film not only about his childhood, but also sort of about my own and actually one that others might relate to as well! It became more of a drama than pure documentary. I’m not sure how impressed Aidan was, to be honest, because he doesn’t have much interest in acting and had to be paid in Lego – but I think he makes a nice protagonist for other Irish/Polish children who are growing up on this island.”