A young Ukrainian pianist is hoping to secure accommodation in Cork so she can attend the School of Music.
Varvara Shybanova, 15, arrived in Ireland earlier this year with the help of Miceál O’Hurley, of Munster Mediation, and his wife, Oksana. They had been helping to house Ukrainians before the Government had a mechanism in place.
This was when Mr O’Hurley and his wife met Varvara, who had travelled to Ireland with her sibling and her mother, Tatiana.
A virtuoso pianist, Varvara was to be admitted to the finest conservatory of music in Ukraine before the war interrupted her dreams.
The family has since been housed in Donegal and Varvara has been accepted to the School of Music in Cork.
Speaking to The Echo, Mr O’Hurley said that Varvara was incredibly talented and that her dream had been to enter one of the best conservatories of music in Europe, which is in Kyiv.
“Of course, February 28 happened and everything changed,” he said.
Mr O’Hurley said he was delighted that Varvara was accepted to the conservatory of music in Cork, but said that the issue was finding appropriate accommodation for the family.
He said he has spent the last month searching for two to three hours a day for a two-bedhouse/apartment and said he hopes that someone can step forward to “facilitate this young woman’s dream”.
Tatiana said that Varvara is excited about her acceptance to theCork school, as it is a high level of education in Europe that will allow her to advance her skills and “go to the next level”.
Tatiana is concerned, however, about the difficulty for the family in being able to move to Cork because of the housing shortage.
“We have been trying to find accommodation for several months already and haven’t had any success,” Tatiana said.
“It’s heartbreaking, because it’s such a dream and it would be really great if, in this war and horrible things that are happening, that at least something good could happen.” She said that there is difficulty in finding a two-bedroom house/apartment for her and her three children and said that she would be grateful for any help in securing accommodation, in Cork or somewhere outside Cork.
Tatiana said that ever since Varvara was a baby, classical music calmed her and helped her to sleep and that now her dream is to perform concerts across Europe and on other continents.
Before they left Ukraine, Varvara would “spend at least six hours rehearsing” and when they moved to Ireland, she couldn’t, because she didn’t have her piano.
Luckily, the family that housed them was musical and had a digital piano, which allowed Varvara to practice, and a digital piano was also provided to her at school. Varvara is looking forward to being back at the keys of a grand piano.