More Irish Wakes – Emigration on the Rise Again

Whether desperate for a paycheck or disgusted with the current times and taxes, the young people of Ireland are on the move again. It is estimated that about 65,000 Irish emigated last year and predictions see nearly 120,000 leaving next year. The Celtic Tiger is no longer roaring as the country is mired in joblessness and  a shrunken if not collapsed economy.

In today’s New York Times, Suzanne Daley writes that:

Just three years ago as Ireland’s economy boomed, immigrants poured in so fast that experts said this tiny country of 4.5 million was on its way to reaching population levels not seen since before the great potato famine of the mid-19th century. The conditions that prompted the Irish statesman Éamon de Valera to express the hope that Ireland’s children would no longer “like our cattle, be brought up for export” seemed like quaint history.

That has abruptly turned around.

Mothers are again enduring the pain of sons leaving home – but some see the emigration of today in a different light. Kevin Shields who has family in the States has entered the lottery for a green card. With a good degree that qualifies him for a cost estimating job in the construction business, Kevin is looking here and in Canada for job possibilities. His mother faces the situation this way:

Mrs. Shields said she took comfort from the fact that emigration today was not what it used to be. “It’s not like when we were waving goodbye from a dock,” Mrs. Shields said. “There are lots of ways to stay in touch — Google, Facebook. A lot of mothers around here are learning a lot about computers these days.”

“We’ll come out of it,” she added. “And maybe we will come out of it stronger.”

Read her story about the rise of emigration in the Ireland of today here in the NYTimes.

Irish Emigrants Embarking at Queenstown (Now Cobh in County Cork)