Monday, 14 December 2015

Slavonic Christmas

This week, the Department has two events highlighting the Christmas traditions of Croatia and Poland respectively.

Tuesday, 15th Dec 2015
Christmas Evening  of  Croatian Poetry  and  Customs
During the evening, poetry will be read in Croatian and English translation, and you will learn about the main Croatian Christmas traditions and listen to Croatian Carols.

This event will take place in from 7-8pm in Rm 4097, Arts Building.

Wednesday, 16th Dec 2015 
Wigilia/Christmas Party
with a Polish twist
During this evening, you will hear about Polish Christmas traditions, sing Polish carols, sample Polish food, and you may even win a prize in the quiz! From 7pm, Rm 5051, Arts Building
Followed by Pub Night

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Live War and Peace reading

You may be interested in a live reading of a reading of Tolstoy's Война и мир being broadcast on the Russian channel Kultura today and over the next three days - the whole novel is being read in small sections by people from all over Russia and beyond.

The life feed, along with information about the novel and the participants can be found at the project blog.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Kinopolis at the IFI

The tenth edition of the IFI Kinopolis Festival of Polish Film opens on Thur, 3rd Dec.


Thursday 3rd December
18.30 11 Minutes

Friday 4th December
18.30 Karbala

Saturday 5th December 
16.00 Chemo
18.10 Anatomy of Evil + Q&A with Krzysztof Stroiński

Sunday 6th December
12.00 Kinopolis for Children: Animated Programme
18.30 Body/Ciało 

More information at 
and in the press release below.

IFI Press release

The IFI and Kinopolis celebrate the Festival’s tenth edition with one of its strongest programmes yet, displaying the wealth of talent currently working in Polish cinema, from elder statesman Jerzy Skolimowski to auteur Małgorzata Szumowska to first-time director Bartosz Prokopowicz. The Festival will welcome special guest Krzysztof Stroiński, star of thriller Anatomy of Evil, who will take part in a Q&A. 
IFI Director Ross Keane said: "We're delighted to once again collaborate with Kinopolis, particularly with such a fine programme of new releases on its tenth anniversary, including the latest feature from a previous IFI guest, Jerzy Skolimowski, to open this year's Festival."

Opening this year's feast of Polish film is
11 Minutes (11 Minut), an Irish co-production from director Jerzy Skolimowski (Essential Killing) about an ordinary day on and around Warsaw’s Grzybowski Square where the lives of a disparate group of people overlap over the course of 11 minutes, leading to an unexpected chain of events that will decide many of their fates.

Mainstream Polish cinema is represented by Krzystof Lukaszewicz's 
Karbala. In 2004, the Polish military controlled the South Central zone of Iraq, which included the Karbala governorate and its capital, a city holy to Shi'a Muslims. A sudden uprising saw a small contingent of Polish and Bulgarian soldiers hugely outnumbered by militia forces, but ordered to hold Karbala’s City Hall, seat of the local authorities and police. This fictionalised version of the subsequent battle, the largest in which Polish troops had taken part since the Second World War, is an intelligent and unsentimental example of quality mainstream Polish cinema.

In Bartosz Prokopowicz's 
Chemo, Benek (Tomasz Schuchardt), suffering from depression and entertaining thoughts of suicide, meets the vivacious Lena (Agnieszka Żulewska), whose free-spirited embrace of life turns him around. Lena’s attitude, however, is revealed to be inspired by her cancer, for which she has decided not to undergo treatment. This resolve is pushed to the background when she unexpectedly falls pregnant. Drawn from the experience of first-time director Bartosz Prokopowicz, whose own wife was killed by the disease, Chemo is undeniably moving in its depiction of Lena’s decline, but it determinedly avoids the maudlin, instead celebrating the couple’s love.

The Festival welcomes Krzysztof Stroiński to the IFI for a Q&A following his latest feature, 
Anatomy of Evil,  a gripping thriller directed by Jacek Bromski in which he plays former hitman ‘Lulek’, recently released on parole and offered one last job by the very prosecutor responsible for his imprisonment. Realising the limitations imposed by age, he presents himself to Staszek (Marcin Kowalczyk), a sniper dishonourably discharged from the army, as a senior officer who may be able to get him back in uniform. Duplicity and suspicion abound as events come to unexpected conclusions.

The Animation Programme is always one of the festival’s most popular events, and this year’s begins with a trio of shorts featuring Hip-Hip and Hurra, the pink hippopotamus and purple weasel who together solve mysteries aimed at imparting knowledge of nature to children. This is followed by an episode of Mami Fatale, in which an elderly woman abandons the city for an idyllic life in the countryside, preparing delicious meals for her pets, Psiną (Doggie) and Prosięciem (Piglet). The final film, Jim and Screw, sees two boys whose lively imaginations lead them to adventures in which they encounter beloved characters from well-known fairy-tales.

Closing the festival this year is
 Body/Ciało by Małgorzata Szumowska (EllesIn the Name of . . . ) which won the Berlinale’s Silver Bear for Best Director. Body is a complex, eccentric, and thoroughly engaging rumination on how one deals with the loss of a loved one, laced with droll black humour. Coroner Janusz (Janusz Gajos), for whom death is quotidian, is unable to relate to the grief of his daughter Olga (Justyna Suwała) at the loss of her mother. Olga’s decline into an eating disorder leads them to therapist Anna (Maja Ostaszewska), who claims she has a message for them from beyond . . .

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

First official pub night of 2015/16

Dear all,

Welcome back to the Department and the new (academic) year!

This semester, we again have an exciting range of evening classes on offer, both in the various languages of the Department (Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Polish and Russian), and also in the Cultures of South-Eastern Europe. Please see the Departmental website for details.

And following a long tradition, we are also starting back our departmental pub nights every second Wednesday during term time in Kennedy's Pub in Western Row near Lincoln Gate.

The dates for the first semester are:
  • 7 Oct 2015
  • 21 Oct 2015
  • 4 Nov 2015
  • 18 Nov 2015
  • 2 Dec 2015
  • 16 Dec 2015
Those for the second semester are:
  • 27 Jan 2016
  • 10 Feb 2016
  • 24 Feb 2016
  • 9 Mar 2016 - following Russian concert
  • 23 Mar 2016
  • 6 Apr 2016
Pub nights start around 8:30-9pm, usually on the ground floor level. The pub takes food orders until about 9:30.

So come along and meet the language assistants, old and new, evening and day students of the Department, during an evening of chats and stories (and maybe some scrabble) in whatever Slavonic language you speak. See you there!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

El Lissitzky at the IMMA till 18th Oct 2015

In collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven NL, IMMA are showing the first ever exhibition in Ireland of works by El Lissitzky entitled 'El Lissitzky: The Artist and the State'.

The works are exhibited alongside 'archival material related to Alice Milligan and Maud Gonne’s theatrical tableaux, and newly commissioned and recent works by Rossella Biscotti, Núria Güell, Sarah Pierce and Hito Steyerl'. For more information on the artists and events relating to the exhibition check the IMMA website.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Start of new series of evening courses at the Department

The Department is about to start its new diet of evening courses during the academic year of 2015/16. We offer a large range of language courses in

- Russian (from Beginners to Advanced Plus)
- Polish (from Beginners to Advanced)
- Croatian (from Beginners to Advanced)
- Bulgarian (from Beginners to Advanced)

We will offer Czech again in January.

We also have a number of lecture courses. During the first semester (October-December 2015), we are running

- Cultural History of Soviet and Contemporary Russia: Censorship and Freedom
- Cultures of South-Eastern Europe

while the following are offered during the second semester (January-April 2016)

- Introduction to Polish Culture
- The Golden Sixties and the Czech New Wave in Film

The first semester courses start during the week of 5th October. To enrol (ideally by 23rd September) and for further information please go to our website or contact Nadia Browne.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Public IARCEES Lecture 7/5/15, 6pm, Long Room Hub

Tonight the annual conference of the Irish Association for Russian, Central and East European Studies entitled ‘Memories and Identities in Central and Eastern Europe’ starts off with a public lecture by 

Polly Jones (Oxford) on ‘The Many Uses of the Usable Past: Rethinking Revolution(s) in Late Socialism’

6pm, Long Room Hub, TCD

If you are interested in attending the conference itself, please go to IARCEES' website for the full programme and registration details. 

Sunday, 19 April 2015

World War II Memorial Poetry

The Soviet Union was among the hardest hit countries in the Second World War (often called the "Great Patriotic War" in Russia), with an estimated 20 million casualties, civilian and military combined, while being responsible for 75% of the total Nazi casualties, turning the tide of the war. This year, Trinity College's poetry and song evening for the Dublin Festival of Russian Culture was themed as a memorial to Soviet losses during WWII. Below are three new poetry translations that were featured.

'Wait for Me' was a popular anthem of the war by poet Konstantin Simonov, in tribute to the many lovers separated by the war. In 1957, famed Soviet director Mikhail Kalatozov (I Am Cuba) portrayed the anguish of the uncertainly waiting women left behind, in The Cranes Are Flying, which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Song text:
Wait for me and I'll return, only wait for long,
Wait when the driving yellow rains make you feel forlorn,
Wait for me through storms of snow, wait in burning heat,
Wait while all forget their vows, don't admit defeat.
Wait when letters fail to come over oceans wide,
Wait when all are overcome, waiting by your side.
Wait for me and I'll return, spare no kindly thought
For anyone who acts concerned, says "time that you forgot".
Let my son and mother think that I must be expired,
Let my friends have turned to drink, sitting by the fire,
Toast my memory... you wait. Don't believe that it's too late.
Wait for me and I'll be there, to spite each mortal peril,
Let those who didn't wait declare "what a lucky devil!"
Those faithless fools can never know how under cannon-fire,
You alone could save me, for your waiting never tired,
How I survived, just you and I, we two have understood,
Simply, you knew how to wait, the way no other could.

Marina Tsvetaeva was one of the major poet's of Russia's Silver Age, at the start of the 20th century. In How Many Plunged Down This Abyss? she meditates on mortality, the meaning of life and the need to cherish each other.

Song text:

How many plunged down this abyss,
I measure from afar?
The day comes when I won't exist.
My planet, au revoir!

All will chill that sang and strove,
Burst forth and radiantly glowed,
My green eyes, tender voice of love,
And waving hair of gold.

And living, with its daily bread,
The day oblivious,
Will all remain; sky overhead,
As though I never was.

My face as fickle as a child's
As soon forgets its spite,
When stoves burn wood, I am beguiled;
Make cinders in my sight.

Cellos and cavalcades in the woods,
Let village bells all toll,
For me, so lively, who once stood
Upon the good earth whole.

To all of you - I know no bounds,
For me or any other -
My faith demands for me be found
Some love, as for a brother.

Night and day, do write and say,
You love my 'yes' and 'no',
Because at twenty years of age,
I've lived through too much woe.

Because it cannot be avoided
My offences must be pardoned,
My tenderness too overjoyed and
My look too proud and hardened.

Because events can move too fast,
For my games, for I don't lie,
- And listen - when the rest is past,
Love me because I'll die.

Singer-songwriter-actor Vladimir Vysotsky was an icon of post-war Russia (you can find other songs elsewhere on this blog), composing songs that addressed almost all aspects of Soviet life, from the gulags to the space race. In 'He Hasn't Come Back From the War', Vysotsky pays tribute to the young men lost in WWII and the pain of those left behind.

Song text:
What's wrong with the world? It's the same as ever,
The sky still as blue as before,
The same woods, the same water, just the same weather,
But he isn't home from the war.

I cannot make out, who was wrong, who was right,
When we fought day and night without pause,
Only now do I wish he were here by my side,
When he hasn't come home from the wars.

His outbursts lacked tact, he was mute and distracted,
Off topic, an ignorant bore,
Kept me up from the crack of the dawn, he was active,
But never came home from the war.

What matter the emptiness? more of the same,
But to realize our duo's no more,
Made me feel that the wind had extinguished a flame
When he never came back from the war.

Captive spring's bursts free of its bonds,
Unthinking, I turn to implore
"Pal, leave me a smoke," only silence responds,
He hasn't come home from the war.

Our dead never leave us in need, and forever
Our fallen, like guards, will stand by,
The watery woods are a mirror to heaven,
Their trees are the color of sky.

There was plenty of room in the trenches for two,
Time enough for us both to endure,
I've the world to myself now, but still, in my view,
It is I who's not back from the war.

To learn more about Russian and other East European cultures, check out our evening lecture courses by clicking the button to the left.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

2015 Russian Certification Examinations

The Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies, in collaboration with Moscow State University, is an official test centre for Certification Examinations in Russian as a Foreign Language (TORFL/ТРКИ), which are fully integrated into the Common European Framework of Reference. The six examinations that students may take are:
·        Elementary Certification Level (ТЭУ) – A1
·        Basic Certification Level (ТБУ) – A2
·        First Certification Level (ТРКИ-1) – B1
·        Second Certification Level (ТРКИ-2) – B2
·        Third Certification Level (ТРКИ-3) – C1
·        Fourth Certification Level (ТРКИ-4) – C2

Normally, the examinations take place in April. Due to an administrative change, the 2015 examination diet will be conducted on 21 and 22 May. Those who intend to sit the Certification Examinations should contact Natalya Kulachkovskaya at the Department. The examination fee is €170. 
We also offer focused examination preparation for the Certification Examinations. This special preparatory programme takes place over a number of evenings before the examination in the Arts Building in Trinity College. Each evening, two slots each lasting 60 minutes are available – 6:30-7:30, and 7:45-8:45, and will be arranged according to demand. 2 sessions are €50, additional sessions are €25/session. There must be a minimum of two students per slot; where numbers are lower, sessions may be merged across adjacent levels.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

PolskaÉire 2015

To champion the diversity that Polish people bring to Ireland, PolskaÉire 2015 has been established as a nationwide festival to coincide with the UEFA Republic of Ireland vs. Poland qualifier on the 29th of March.

This initiative is led by the Minister of State for New Communities, Culture and Equality, Aodhán Ó Rí­ordáin T.D. (D
epartment of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Department of Justice and Equality), the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Dublin and the Football Association of Ireland. The festival is supported by Dublin City Council and other local authorities, along with many Polish organisations and cultural, community and sporting groups across the country.

You can download the full programme through the following links:

Dom Polski has a  full programme of events as well, see flier below. Of particular interest is the talk by eminent linguistics professor Jan Miodek. If anyone would like to read some poetry in Polish, or would otherwise like to be involved in the evening on 21 March, please email

To conclude PolskaÉire, the Lighthouse Cinema runs a Polish film festival from 30 March. It is not billed as such on their website, but you can find the relevant films here:  

Unrelated, but also of potential interest is the Silk Road Festival, 18-22 March 2015.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Václav Havel evening

This Friday, 6 March, there will be a musical evening to honour Václav Havel and to raise funds for a bust to be placed in the Irish Parliament. The concert takes place at 7:30 at Odessa.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

2015 Festival of Russian Culture

This year's Dublin City Festival of Russian Culture kicked off today with a lunchtime concert in the Hugh Lane Gallery. It runs until next Sunday, 22nd Feb, boasting a varied programme of concerts, talks and film screenings. Full details of events at

The Department again contributes several events:

- a talk about studying Russian at TCD/abroad and a quiz "How well do you know Russia?", on Tue 17th Feb, 10-12.30, Ilac library
- a talk in Russian and English about the history of the Bolshoi Theatre by Evgenia Rosato, on Tue 17th Feb, 6-7:30pm, Long Room Hub, TCD

- an Open Day at the Department, on Wed 18th Feb, 4.30-6pm, Room 5051 in the Arts Building, which includes a free tour of TCD
- an evening of poetry and song, on Wed 18th Feb, 7-9pm in the Atrium at TCD.

Next Wednesday is our next regular pub night, and we will repair to Kennedy's after the poetry evening, so the Russian table will start a bit later than usual.

All welcome, and enjoy!

(Please note that there are a couple of inaccuracies concerning our events in this printed version.)

Saturday, 10 January 2015

New language and lecture courses

The Department is now enrolling for several courses starting the week of 12th January 2015:

Language courses
  • Czech, Bulgarian and Croatian (all levels)
  • Russian and Polish (non-beginners)
Lecture courses
  • Introduction to Polish Culture
  • Cultures of South-Eastern Europe
Course descriptions and enrolment forms