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Ireland - The Gathering

By Edited May 11, 2015 6 12

2013 Is the year the Irish Diaspora returns home.

We all know about the Jewish Diaspora and many Jewish people plan to visit Israel during their lifetime. The Diaspora is still ongoing, even though it started two thousand years later than the Jewish one. Many people of Irish descent have vague plans to visit the old country before they die.

In 2013 every hamlet, village and town is putting on special events to welcome back people who have their roots there.

The American

37 Million Americans actually claim descent *. The real number with Irish ancestors is much higher than that with the inter-marriage of different religious and social groups in the USA. There can hardly be an American living who has no Irish blood.

The English

Irish people are the largest single ethnic group in the UK and have been for centuries. There can hardly be a Briton living who has no Irish blood in him. Yes there are recognised concentrations of Irish ethnicity in Liverpool, Birmingham and London, but British people are highly mobile and people have moved on from their original English destinations and have inter-married to such an extent that you would be hard put to separate English and Irish genes.

The Australian

Beginning with the deportation of Irish “troublemakers” 300 years ago and continuing today as young Irish men and women take the long flight to Australia in search of work; Australians all have Irish genes in their genetic makeup.

The International

Ireland has never been able to provide enough work for all its citizens and emigration has always been a way of life. The human tide was briefly reversed in the Celtic Tiger years that ended with a bang in 2008. From 2003 to 2008 there was a net influx of people into Ireland, mainly to work in the construction sector from the forme Eastern European EU states. Since then Irish families have come to expect their children to move thousands of miles away as soon as they complete their education.

Irish monks took their knowledge to Europe after the Dark Ages and the flow of talent from this tiny country has been ongoing ever since.

The Gathering

Sometimes people need an extra incentive, even to do the things they really want to do. The Gathering is that kick that the Irish Diaspora has been waiting for, providing extra motivation to visit Home this year.

Many of the Irish Diaspora have plans to return to their roots at some point, but these plans are always far away; sufficiently far away that detailed plans are never made. The Gathering is changing some people’s vague ideas of return into concrete plans, flights booked, cars hired and phone calls made.

Memories fade and people die. Life moves on and cultural changes are inevitable. Sooner is always better than later in terms of finding people who knew emigrants’ parents and grandparents.


* http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-lee/irish-america-by-the-numb_b_827996.html

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Mar 17, 2013 12:06am
My parents went to Ireland last year and visited the places their ancestors came from. They loved it. To me it was interesting that one side was catholic and the other Protestant and they both moved away from Ireland to be free of the religious strife; only to intermarry.
Mar 17, 2013 12:12am
Thanks for commenting. Religion is much less important in Ireland today, though it is still an important part of everyone's identity. The first thing my better half tells me about someone is usually, "He's a Protestant".
Mar 17, 2013 7:21am
Hi--thanks for such an inspirational article--I am half Irish with the other half being Italian. My dad was dark and my Mom a redheaded, lilly-white skinned women...with a traditional Irish temper. I have never been to Europe all my travel from the U.S. has been to Australia and Asia but the two places I would love to visit are ireland and Wales. Anyway 2 thumbs up and a rating.
Mar 17, 2013 7:32am
Thanks Marlando for your kind comment. I think everyone in America, Canada, UK, Australia must have some Irish blood with the inter-marriage over the generations. I live in Cork, but only one of my great grandparents was Irish, there is probably more Irish blood as well because I come from near Liverpool, where a large number of Irish migrants settled.
Mar 17, 2013 3:20pm
Ireland always seems to me to be such a beautiful country. I wasn't aware of the the Diaspora. I like when I learn something new. Nice, interesting and informative article Phitrate.
Mar 17, 2013 8:41pm
Thanks weianow for taking the time to comment. People do not talk about it as a diasapora very often, but that's what it was (is still even, as Ireland haemorrages (sp) talent)
Mar 17, 2013 3:22pm
Sorry Phil, My finger skipped over the "l" when typing Philtrate. :)
Mar 18, 2013 3:11am
My twins are Irish and on my bucket list is to take them over there and to investigate Irish Jewish life. We had a blast celebrating St. Paddy's Day yesterday! My daughter went to Hebrew School decked out in green, shamrocks and a leprechaun hat.
Mar 18, 2013 3:16am
Hey Mommy - WHEN you do, (forget "if") you are very welcome to visit. I don't know a thing about Jewish life in Ireland, but there will be something of interest along those lines I am certain.
Mar 18, 2013 5:29pm
Phil, I look forward to sharing a cup of tea with you someday!
Apr 2, 2013 8:44am
Brings back great memories of my 6 months living in Ireland on a backpacking working holiday. Bulk of my time was in a small village called Glencar on the Ring of Kerry, not for from Killarney. Such a beautiful country, friendly people, great atmosphere! ah great memories. I will surely go back one day for another visit.
Apr 2, 2013 9:43am
Thanks for taking the time to comment. 6 months is about the time you really need to see even a small country like Ireland, because it's about getting to know the people, acquiring a taste for Guinness, understanding the craic . . .
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