Exploring Diaspora Strategies: Lessons for Ireland
Ancien, Delphine and Boyle, Mark and Kitchin, Rob (2009) Exploring Diaspora Strategies: Lessons for Ireland. In: Exploring Diaspora Strategies, January 26-28 2009, National University of Ireland Maynooth.
In 2009 the population of the Irish Republic stood at 4.42 million. At the same time over 70 million people worldwide claimed Irish descent, and 3.2 million Irish citizens (passport holders) and 800,000 Irish born citizens lived overseas. The historical and geographical formation of the Irish diaspora has been a complex process incorporating a wide range of migrant flows and experiences of re-settlement. The principal migrant streams include the missionary and mercenary migrations to Europe between the sixth and the fifteenth centuries, the movement of the Scotch Irish to North America between 1705 and 1776, the ‘convict’ and ‘free’ migrants relocating to the far shores of Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Uruguay in the nineteenth century, the scattering of the famine migrants to North America and the United Kingdom in the 1840s, the flight of the impoverished to the United States and the United Kingdom from the 1850s to the establishment of the Irish Free State in the 1920s, and the economic migrants who left in the 1950s and the 1980s, principally for the United Kingdom. The Irish diaspora has always maintained a relationship with Ireland – that is it has always operated as a transnational diaspora – but the nature of that relationship has changed and evolved. Currently, the Irish diaspora is, we believe entering a new era. This is resulting both from an awakening of interest within Ireland itself as to the unfulfilled potential of the relationship and changes taking place within the diaspora itself.
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