Ukrainian Anastasia dives into local life in Lahinch

A UKRAINIAN refugee, who was forced to flee Odessa, loves working in North Clare where her safety is guaranteed.

Anastasia Hordieieva (31) works as a swimming instructor at the Lahinch Recreation Center, working an eight-hour shift three days a week.

In an interview with The Champion, Anastasia revealed that she only started getting a good night’s sleep when she felt safe in her new hotel residence in Lisdoonvarna.

“When I was traveling through Romania, I couldn’t sleep properly and would wake up after only two hours. Now I can sleep well.

“The war in Ukraine is a horrible nightmare,” she said.

On March 20, Anastasia arrived alone in North Clare, having escaped the horrors of war in Ukraine.

Her mother, who is an accountant in a pharmaceutical company, still lives in Odessa, as she has to take care of her grandmother, who recently suffered a heart attack.

On February 24, Anastasia decided to leave Odessa as she felt it was no longer safe to stay.

After a three kilometer walk to Romania, she had to take a 30-hour long bus to Germany, which turned out to be a difficult trip before boarding a plane from Dusseldorf to Dublin airport.

While in Ukraine, she studied sports at a third level college.

“I wanted to try and find something I could do that would be helpful and helpful to local people.

“I’m trying to get lifeguard qualifications here. I’m doing a lifeguard course here. I hope to complete my course next August when I am fully qualified. I have to get recognized swimming qualifications here in Ireland,” she said.

Being able to speak the same language as Ukrainian children has proven to be a great advantage when they come to the pool to learn to swim.

She also tries to learn English in order to improve her communication skills during her part-time job.

She said Ukrainian children needed support as they were now living in a new country after fleeing their own war-torn country.

“We are very grateful for the welcome the Ukrainians have received in North Clare. It is very important that young Ukrainian children can continue to go to school and not lose a year of education because of the war. Ukrainian children can improve their English at school.

“I really like working out, it’s very good for my brain. I like to meet people and I can do something good for the local population.

“I am very grateful for this opportunity. Irish people are very kind and open-minded. I am very lucky because I believe I can start a new life here,” she said.

After surfing the internet looking for a job, she texted and then sent a letter of expression of interest to Lahinch Recreation Center manager Eoin Conlan.

Now residing at the Hydro Hotel, Lisdoonvarna, she said the hotel manager was very nice and supportive of all Ukrainian residents.

Mr. Conlan said he was delighted to hire Anastasia, who is an excellent swimmer.

“The Lahinch Recreation Center offers in-house training that can help qualify a person,” Conlan said.

“We have worked with Brendan McGrath at Water Safety Ireland, which means our own staff can undergo in-house training. Water Safety Ireland has trained our staff to become trainers.

“Our lifeguards can also qualify through this training. Anastasia is now involved in this training of our coaches and she is also a swimming teacher.

“Ukrainians are like you and me. Working at the Lahinch recreation center also allows Anastasia to concentrate, which she appreciates.

“She comes to work three days a week, she teaches the children to swim, which is fantastic. She is now giving something back to the community she lives in,” he said.

He recalled when Anastasia came to North Clare, “She was very proactive in terms of finding a job, she contacted me, sent her resume, we had an interview and she got the job.”

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