Croatia–Ireland relations refer to the bilateral relationship between Croatia and Ireland. Diplomatic relations among two countries were established on January 27, 1995. following Croatia's independence from SFR Yugoslavia.
Croatia is represented in Ireland through consulate and embassy in Dublin, while Ireland is represented in Croatia through its embassy and consulate in Zagreb. Both countries are full members of the European Union.
Relations between Croatia and Ireland are very good. Two countries are friendly and have no open political issues. Ireland provided strong support to the Croatian accession to the EU, during whose Presidency over the EU Council in the first half of the 2004, Croatia received a positive avis and in June of the same year the EU candidate status.
In June 2003, Croatian Prime Minister Ivica Račan visited Ireland during which he met with the Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons Rory O'Hanlon and Speaker of the Senate Rory Kiely.
In November 2005, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern visited Croatia during which he met with Croatian President Stjepan Mesić, Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, Parliament Speaker Vladimir Šeks and many other officials. Prime Minister Aheron expressed his support to the Croatian accession to the EU, and described relations between Croatia and Ireland as "very cordial and friendly". Both Prime Ministers emphasized the importance of deeper economic, cultural and scientific cooperation between two countries. Prime Minister Sanader stressed that Croatia took the experience of Ireland in facilitating the process for the incorporation of companies and the opening of trade businesses.
In June 2013, Irish president Michael D. Higgins visited Croatia in an official state visit thus becoming the first Irish president in history to do so. During his visit, president Higgins met with Croatian president Ivo Josipović and many other state officials, and gave a lecture at the University of Zagreb on the experience of Irish membership in the European Union and the future of the EU.
On September 1, 2016, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Đakovo-Osijek opened Croatian Catholic Mission in Dublin which is ran by priest Josip Levaković. Missions goal is to fulfill religious and spiritual needs of the Croatian Catholics in Ireland.
The history between Croatia and Ireland goes back to the 8th century when Croatia was first founded as a Duchy. There is a long line of relations between the Croatian and Irish people as exemplified in the lives of Saint Donatus of Zadar, Laval Nugent, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats and more recently Thomas Crowley.
Saint Donatus of Zadar was an Irishman born in County Louth who became a bishop in the 8th century and built the church on the foundations of the ancient Roman forum in Zadar that today holds his name. Donatus also served as Ambassador for the Cities of Dalmatia to the court of Charlemange. In 1809, following the French occupation of Zadar his remains were transferred to the Cathedral of St Anastasia in Zadar where he rests today. Four years later in 1813, it was an Irishman called Count Laval Nugent who eventually drove the French from Zadar. The feast day of Saint Donatus is celebrated on the 25th of February.
Count Laval Nugent von Westmeath was born in Ireland in 1777 and moved to the present-day Austrian part of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1793 after his father, Ignatius Nugent was killed in the Battle of Belgrade. In 1813, von Westmeath became Chief of Staff for the Imperial Army and led the campaign that liberated Croatia, Istria and the Po Valley from the French viceroy Eugène de Beauharnais. He went on to become a member of the Croatian Parliament and the first person to open a museum in Croatia. Also, von Westmeath recommended that Josip Jelačić should be given the title of Ban in 1848. Afterwords, Jelačić indeed became a Ban, and quickly set about disputing any claim Austria had on the Croatia. Von Westmeath was fully supportive of this move and enthusiastically declared himself a ‘Croat’. He died on 22 August 1862 in the Bosiljevo Castle near Karlovac. After his death, he left all of his possessions, including 2 castles he restored, and expensive artwork, to the Croatian state.
On the recommendation of the famous Irish poet William Butler Yeats, Croatian sculptor and architect Ivan Meštrović was asked in 1927 to submit design of the first Irish coins. Unfortunately Mestrović was, by someone else's fault, late in submitting his design to the tender. "Having discovered that the deadline had passed, Meštrović had made magnificent design and generously donated it to the Irish Free State"- wrote Yeats. Original work made by Ivan Meštrović is being kept in the National Museum of Ireland. Since 1965 Irish Central Bank uses this design on its official seal.
James Joyce eloped to Pula with his girlfriend (and later to be his wife), Nora Barnacle, as a 22-year-old man to teach English with the Berlitz Corporation. It was here in Pula where Joyce first practiced those unconventional writing forms that later made him famous. Today, there is a statue of James Joyce at the Caffe Uliks in Pula where he used to frequent.
Thomas Crowley, an Irishman, is considered to be a hero in Croatia because of his active role in the Croatian War of Independence. He joined as a volunteer with the Croatian Defence Forces in 1991 and was assigned to the Ante Paradzik First Battalion. He participated as a commando in battles at Dubrovnik, Livno, Mostar, Popovo Polje, Operation Maslenica, the liberation of Škabrnja and Zemunik, where he was wounded. In 1994 he led a training camp for the 114th brigade. He was killed in action near Dubrovnik in 1995 and is buried near Split. He died as a Major in the Croatian Armed Forces and was posthumously awarded the Croatian Medal of Honour in 2012.
From 1993 to 2011 Irish businessmen invested 139.3 million euros into Croatia and thus took 18th place among top investors in Croatia. (in 2010 investments amounted to 70.4 million euros). In 2010, Croatia was visited by 28,933 Irish tourists who made 124,131 overnight stays.
Croatia exported to Ireland products worth 14.4 million euros in 2010 (medical and pharmaceutical products, fertilizers, etc.), and imported from it products worth 73.1 million euros (essential oils and perfumes, medicines, machinery, chemicals, etc.). In 2012 Croatia exported to Ireland goods worth $13.3 million and imported from it goods worth $94.5 million.
Since the Croatian ascension to the EU in 2013 Ireland has become one of the most popular destinations for the Croatian migrant workers. Facebook group in which members advice each other about living in Ireland-"Let's go to Ireland" (Idemo u Irsku), had more than 20.000 members in September 2015. On June 16, 2015 Croatian Radiotelevision aired its documentary about Croatian emigrants in Ireland under the title "Our Beautiful Ireland - promised land for the Croatian people" (Lijepa naša Irska - obećana za hrvatske građane)". In 2015 and January 2016, 5,500 Croats moved to Ireland, mosty to Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway.
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