Valeriya Yeremenko rediscovers her Ukrainian roots in Cavan after moving to Ireland when she was nine.
Valeriya Yeremenko moved from Ukraine to Ireland in 2005 when she was nine and made Cavan her home in 2020. She described what it was like growing up as an only child in Kiev, the rich Ukrainian food and unique fish salads, and speaking Russian more than Ukrainian at home. She moved to Ireland when her father found a job in Dundalk and lived there for 10 years, then to Donegal for college, then to West Cork briefly for work, and finally to Cavan where her partner is from. Growing up Orthodox, she found it strange having to go to mass at a Catholic school and taking the Body of Christ without fully understanding what it meant. In terms of her cultural identity, she felt welcomed and accepted when she was told “You’re practically one of us!” by the Irish, but she still feels the Ukrainian part of her at the same time. She is now working at the library in Cootehill and Cavan Town after years of working in hospitality and retail. She advises migrants to get out of their comfort zone, and her fellow Ukrainians to remain strong. She has happily reconnected with her mother who came to Ireland when the war broke out, and has also rediscovered her culture and language after not visiting Ukraine for many years.