Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Irish Diaspora - a Global Network

I was standing in a Boston cemetery only a week ago. Around me rose the spectre of Irish immigrants. Post-famine headstones marked the successful - or not so successful - lives of Irish men and women who made their way to the United States in the hope of a new future. There, they struggled with millions of other immigrants to transform America into a land of opportunity.

Over the years, I've stood in so many graveyards throughout the United States and Canada and looked down at the remains of Irish immigrants who made their way to America in pursuit of their dreams. During the famine years, thousands of hope-filled Irish paid their way across the Atlantic in search of economic and political freedom. When they arrived in the States, they worked hard to make their dreams come true. And it was a struggle. Is it any wonder, then, that they stuck to their own?

Irish neighborhoods (and sometimes tenements) sprung up in all the major cities. Within those communities Irish traditions of family and loyalty were cultivated and reinforced. Favors were exchanged. Political power established. Over the years, the influence of the Irish swept through America - sometimes welcome, sometimes not. This network of power and influence protected protected the Irish. And the Irish Diaspora (a phrase coined by Irish President Mary Robinson) stretches throughout the world.

If you are considering a move to Ireland, you might see how you can turn the power and knowledge of the Diaspora to your advantage.
The Help of the Irish
It is no secret that millions of Irish descendents live in the United States alone. Many of these people have friends, colleagues, and relatives living in Ireland. As importantly, many of these people may belong to Irish-related organizations based in the States. In turn, these outfits may have contact information in Ireland.

If you're considering moving to Ireland, why not see if you can network through this existing network that is the Irish Diaspora? Research local Irish clubs and societies that might exist in your area. Contact them. Ask for their help: do they have contacts in Ireland? Are there people in their organization that you might talk to? Can they provide additional contacts in Ireland that could lead to a job or more information over here?

If you're currently living in the US but have a passion to live in Ireland, why not start your journey using the closest - and therefore easiest to access - source of information? Your local Irish organization. By doing so, you will not only make some good friends, but you may be able to network through them and onward to Ireland itself.

Thoughout history, the Irish worked hard to make their dreams come true. With a little work, you too may be able to move here too.

For additional stories on living and surviving in Ireland, and for a copy of Tom's book on the subject, to to A Survivor's Guide to Living in Ireland.


  1. Tom, good stuff as usual. I like the way you present the information, it's good, helpful, factual information but there's always good context going on, which make reading it that much more interesting. Thanks!

  2. Thanks Skippy for the kind words. And a general comment: forgive the lack of entries recently. Things at this end have been nuts! But promise to get back with more thoughts on Surviving Ireland very soon...

    My very best