Plamena, Bulgaria/Northern Ireland
My name is Plamena Chemshirova. I am 39.
[Where are you from?] Originally Bulgaria.
[What part of Bulgaria?] Exactly on the middle of Bulgaria, which is called the City Stara Zagora, and it’s a very very good and very old city. It has an ancient history of 8000 years old. I used to be a professional folklore dancer.
[When did you leave Bulgaria?] I leave it in 2002, in the September time. I leave Bulgaria with my daughter; she would be in that time 6 years old.
[Why did you leave Bulgaria?] Because I want to be with my husband, and at that time he was here working and I wished my family to be whole.
[How long have you lived in Ireland?] About 13 years.
[Why did you choose Ireland?] I don’t know- maybe Ireland chose us.
[Do you like it here?] Yes I like it, except the weather sometimes.
[What do you do here?] We have our own business.
[What kind of business?] Me and my husband we have a restaurant, a café restaurant, in the leisure centre.
[Do you serve Bulgarian food at this restaurant?] No, it’s traditional, like from here
[You also mentioned that you dance here in Northern Ireland as well.] Yes, actually we have a dancing group called Chemshir, and it’s a part of the Bulgarian Association of Northern Ireland. We started that a year and a half ago. Basically, we try to dance and to introduce our culture around Northern Ireland and try to show the people our traditions and I am very proud of that.
[Do your children dance?] They know how, but not at the moment.
[How old are your children?] My daughter is 19 years old, and my little one is nearly five.
[Talk about the costumes you wore today?] So, I will introduce traditional Bulgarian costumes, which is from the middle of Bulgaria. We’re a very small country, but we have several different kinds of region. Every region we have specific costumes, music, and dancing. So I wore a costume from my home region, Thracia.
[Why are these costumes important to you?] Because the costumes are very authentic and many years ago the costumes had been our ID. The costumes have different kinds of signs that show if you’re married, where you’re from, and even how old are you. So every part of the costume shows something from your personality. And that’s why I think costumes from every country, not just Bulgaria, are important and we have to keep our culture and show the people our identity.