< Back to Exposições virtuais



It is my great pleasure to inaugurate the exhibition on the Irish in Brazil, in partnership with the National Library and the Consulate General of Ireland in São Paulo.

In September 1822, Prince Dom Pedro declared Brazil’s independence from Portugal and one hundred years later, Ireland became the Irish Free State. Today, as we reflect upon the centenary of Irish and bicentenary of Brazilian independence, and as we approach half a century of diplomatic relations between Ireland and Brazil, the launch of this exhibition could not be more timely.

The Irish in Brazil tells the stories of the Irish people and their descendants who have contributed to the development of Brazil: from Irish missionaries, to Narcisa O’Leary, the Irish-born wife of Brazil’s Patriach of Independence, Jose Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, to Roger Casement, a diplomat who fought for the rights of indigenous communities in the Amazon. The exhibition also recognises the significant number of Irish authors, playwrights and Nobel Prize winners, whose works in translation have been hugely impactful. When our master poet Paul Durcan launched his poetry volume Greetings to Our Friends in Brazil, in 1999, he brought Brazil into all homes and classrooms in Ireland.

I am grateful to the Fundação Biblioteca Nacional, whose archives bring these stories to life, and for the cooperation of its team in the development of this exhibition. I would also like to express my appreciation for the work and dedication of co-curators: Peter O’Neill, who conceptualized the exhibition and whose lifetime of research forms its foundations, and Dr. Beatriz Kopschitz Bastos, an expert in Irish studies affiliated to the Federal University of Santa Catarina, who for many decades has promoted Irish literature, theatre and cinema in Brazil, and created lasting links between Irish and Brazilian educational and cultural institutions.


Seán Hoy, Ambassador of Ireland to Brazil