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Csilla Toldy is from Hungary and she was 18 years old when she left her home country to come to Europe. She came to UK in 1995 where she lived in London for 3 years and moved to Northern Ireland in 1998 after the Good Friday Agreement. Csillas home town is Budapest which is the capital of Hungary. It is a very old and beautiful city. Budapest has got many great bridges, museums, theatres and a big castle.

Csilla Toldy pictured in Warrenpoint. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Csilla Toldy pictured in Warrenpoint. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Csilla lived in Warrenpoint at the start but tells us that it was her partner who really found this place at first. She had visited Warrenpoint 6 months before in April 1998 and then they decided to move in. She currently is living in Rostrevor and finds it a very different place compare to Budapest. Csilla recalls “Budapest is very big city where my parents lived in 45 square metre flat. We lived a very different outdoor life while in Rostrevor we are very close to mountains and Kilbroney Park. They are very good surroundings for my writing. I can go for walks and be very close to nature. When I came to Northern Ireland, I found people are very nice but they were very curious who was I. They were asking loads of questions regarding myself and my life. I was very welcomed, even I thought I had a funny accent but nobody really cared about this and I had no problem with assimilation”

Csilla Toldy in front of the Peace Stone she helped to create. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Csilla in front of the Peace Stone she helped to create. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

In 1998 when they came to Warrenpoint the local people were preparing for a millennium celebration. So, they got the idea to use the granite stone at the promenade and do something with it to be remembered. They then established a community group called “Light 2000”. Having done that they asked the public what would be the most 4 important words to be used on the granite stone for the millennium 2000 for Northern Ireland. They came out with 4 words - Peace, Hope, Light and Life. And that’s why the 4 words are found around the peace stone.  The millennium 2000 was celebrated with strong community spirit. Csilla tells us “We lit 2000 candles on New Year’s Eve 1999. We built a very good community on that night and people really enjoyed it”

Csilla relaxing on the Warrenpoint seafront. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Csilla is a writer and a poet and she has several books published with poetry and short stories. She tells us that “You might guess that it is very hard making a living being writer. So, I teach creative writing for University and I teach yoga sometimes. We used to have yoga studio in Newry for a long time but in the pandemic myself and my husband decided to teach yoga via zoom”

One of her best hobbies used to be traveling before pandemic started. Csilla loved to go to different places and see other cultures. She loves mountains and does a lot of hiking in her spare time because she loves to connect to nature.

Csilla feels very lucky to live in Rostrevor now because it has become a very international village. She states “I am aware of 19 to 20 different nationalities living in Rostrevor. The local people are very welcoming and very friendly. We are regularly creating art and poetry events in Rostrevor where we invite poets and writers from other countries to join us. Where we can all share our passion within the beautiful village of Rostrevor”

If she had to change something in the place, were she lives, she feels that especially Newry needs more art venues such as an art gallery, Csilla told us that she sees that there are many empty old buildings which are not used and feels for a little amount of money they could be refurbished and used for arts. And also the Albert Basin park should go ahead the sooner the better. Her community group for example planted 400 trees for schoolchildren in 2019. And she thinks it would be nice if the same happened in Albert Basin Park.

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