The Swedish Irish Society was founded in 1949. A small group of Swedish friends with ties to Ireland got together and decided to set up an organisation to encourage cultural links and friendly relations between Sweden and Ireland. Many of them had never even been to Ireland! It’s hard to imagine today how far away Ireland was at that time, physically and culturally, and how difficult it was to travel to.
Down the years the Society has made a big contribution to ensuring that the relationship between Sweden and Ireland remains strong and vibrant. It has grown during its 68 years of activity to its present membership of around 200 people.
Many of the events that were introduced have become long-standing traditions (e.g. a party featuring a proper Irish Christmas dinner, a lunch showcasing Irish crab) and are a testimony to decades of commitment by our past and present members.
The profile of our membership has changed with the times. As well as Swedes who have an affinity for Ireland or Irish culture, nowadays there are far more Irish people living in Sweden. Many of our members are in fact now Swedish-Irish – families with links to the two countries.
The purpose of the society is still to encourage and develop the mutual cultural ties between Sweden and Ireland, and to strengthen and promote friendly relations between the two countries. Today the Society also provides a community where new arrivals to Sweden can meet a whole network of Irish and Swedish friends and contacts. It is also a way that Irish in Sweden can preserve certain traditions among their families, for example Hallowe’en, St Patrick’s Day etc.
Most of our members live in the vicinity of Stockholm, and where the meetings usually take place, but we have members in other parts of Sweden, as well as a handful in Ireland and even other parts of the world.
The society organises several events during the year, and the aim is to provide a varied program appealing to adults and children. We are also responsible for the Stockholm St Patrick’s Day parade, by far our most high-profile event, attracting 1000 people annually. Our program includes social events, pub evenings, talks on Irish music, literature, history and other aspects of Irish life, and we arrange visits to the theatre, concerts and films if there is an Irish interest.
The society publishes an e-newsletter, and spreads news and articles of Irish and society interest via the website, e-mail and social media.
Céad Mile Fáilte! Welcome! Välkommen!