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    Primary documents

    Friday, July 24th, 2009

    Archives of the Irish experience throughout the world can be found in destination countries, and some of these are online. These are useful for scholars but are also fun for just browsing around – there’s a host of gems here!


    Archive of the Irish in Britain


    Archives of Irish America – Includes several exhibitions, including an oral history project called “New York Stories?.

    Library of Congress Memory Project: Immigration


    The Shamrock and the Maple Leaf – an exhibition of Irish-Canadian documentary materials held by Library and Archives Canada

    Moving Here, Staying Here: The Canadian Immigrant Experience

    The Ships List – Comprehensive set of documents related to ships and the immigrant experience around the world.


    Australia: Convict Transportation database

    More on Irish convicts at Irish Convicts Transported to Australia

    Leaving from Liverpool – an excellent educational site highlighting the experience of migration to Australia through the port of Liverpool.

    Latin America

    Society for Irish Latin-American Studies

    Australasian Irish Studies Conference: Massey University, NZ; 9-12 July 2009

    Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

    Ireland and the Irish Antipodes: One World or Worlds Apart?

    The Irish Studies Associaton of Australian and New Zealand will host its conference from the 9th to 12th of July at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.

    Organisers say:

    Australia and New Zealand were essentially secondary destinations for the post-1800 waves of Irish leaving to make new lives overseas, accounting for no more than 10 per cent in most decades. Yet the two countries have regularly been identified by scholars as appropriate ‘laboratories’ for studying the nature and impacts of Irish migration over time. This conference seeks to review research undertaken both at the points of origin and destination and to pose new questions. Were the Irish communities that took root in the Antipodes essentially transplanted fragments of the homeland? How did they evolve, and to what extent was their evolution influenced by developments at home? Were there noticeable differences between the Australian and New Zealand Irish experiences, and if so how may these best be explained? What is the relationship today between Ireland and its most far-flung diasporic communities?

    With seven keynote speakers providing contextual signposts, the topics to be addressed over three days will be diverse. Historical themes range from aspects of early convict transportation to Australia, through Irish-Maori relations in New Zealand, to late twentieth century economic interactions. Cultural life will also be a focus, Irish literature, theatre and music – both traditional and contemporary – being scheduled for discussion. A particular consideration will be how the Antipodean Irish are being depicted in historical reconstructions and displays. Necessarily, many of the contributions will reflect collective experiences, but provision has also been made for papers on those of individuals and families. The utility of oral history for recording the experiences of more recent arrivals will also be assessed.

    See the conference website.

    A look at unemployment rates in destination countries

    Monday, June 15th, 2009

    With the increasing number of news reports about unemployed people seeking to emigrate, it’s useful to look at unemployment rates in a number of destination countries. These are, of course, only guidelines – no doubt there are national differences in the methods of compiling these statistics that make it difficult to make accurate comparisons.

    Ireland’s unemployment rate is 11.8%. Here are the rates in some of the countries most commonly considered by those seeking to emigrate:

    “All it will take is a good job” – NZ journalist tells emigrant’s story

    Monday, May 18th, 2009

    The New Zealand Herald carries an interesting article on the Irish economy that has some particularly moving words about emigration. Journalist Ruaridh Nicoll tells the story of Michael Dermody, a 25-year-old Kilkenny man bound for Perth, Australia.

    Dermody tells the journalist, “A couple of years ago, I might have known two people in the whole of Australia. Now I know 30. I have about five or six friends in Perth alone, all within 15 km of my house.”

    Nicoll notes,

    As I travel round Ireland, I will be told that the boom has changed the country forever and, what with modern air travel, the exodus this time will be temporary. Yet technology, in the form of Facebook and Skype, is a powerful new agent in the emptying of villages. “Those who go are in contact with the lads back home,” Michael says. “They are telling us what a good time they are having, asking, ‘What’s keeping you?’.” The network that has always been so important in Ireland – ties of kinship and geography – now sucks the young away.

    Nicoll tells of Dermody’s departure:

    A little while before, Michael stood up from the farmhouse table, picked up a small rucksack and his hurling sticks, and said he’d best be going.

    His mother sat straight-backed, the pain hard in her eyes, her jaw set, as her son had a last gulp of tea. He tells me later that his parents “hadn’t really spoken” about his departure, “but my mother is unhappy”. This renewed emigration, after 15 years of migrants returning, horrifies the older generations. They know all it will take is a good job, a mortgage or a marriage to keep Michael abroad. “They want to know when I’ll be back, but I don’t know,” he says, as we head outside. “If it doesn’t work out in Perth, I wouldn’t be averse to New Zealand.”

    Read the whole article on the New Zealand Herald website: Wounded Tiger

    For information on moving to Australia, visit the Crosscare Migrant Project website.

    Will Australian rugby suffer from enhanced Irish citizenship rules?

    Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

    Australian rugby fans may be living in fear of a suggestion by Taoiseach Brian Cowen that Ireland may soon allow people with an Irish great-grandparent easier access to citizenship – at least that’s what “The Australian” newspaper suggests.

    The newspaper points out that Australian and New Zealand clubs have been suffering from player drain to wealthy clubs in Europe and Japan, where they can make significantly more money. Previously, Australian rugby officials lobbied the IRB to abolish the rule that allowed Australians with European grandparents to play as locals in Europe.

    The newspaper says:

    ARU chief executive John O’Neill is proud of his Irish heritage, but it is unlikely he would have been too pleased with an announcement by the Irish Government on St Patrick’s Day.

    Thousands of Australians will find it easier to take out Irish citizenship after the announcement that foreigners with an Irish great-grand parent would be eligible.

    At present, Ireland requires a person to have at least one Irish grand parent to claim ancestral right to citizenship.
    But Ireland has decided to loosen the rules to extend naturalisation rights to people who are one generation further away from their Irish roots.

    As a result of the Irish diaspora of over 80 million people, this initiative will have political and social ramifications around the globe, including the world of rugby.

    In particular, Australian and New Zealand rugby will be significantly affected.

    If you have Irish citizenship, you also carry with it a coveted European Union passport, which gives you the right to live and work in 27 nations – and that applies to professional rugby players as much as anyone else.

    The Irish government has not released further details on the proposed change, however. The suggestion that it would be expanding citizenship rights was made by Taoiseach Brian Cowen as he launched a strategic review of US-Ireland relations in New York during his St Patrick’s Day visit.

    Related webpages:

    The Australian: Ancestral nightmare for ARU and John O’Neill

    Working Abroad Expo: Dublin, 21-22 March; Cork, 26-27 March

    Friday, March 20th, 2009

    An event aimed at those considering relocating to work abroad in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and the UK will be held on 21-22 March in the RDS in Dublin and 26-27 March in the Silver Springs Moran Hotel.

    Organisers say the Working Abroad Expo will include immigration officials from Australia, New Zealand and Canada giving visa advice, relocation services, employers and recruitment consultants, and financial advisers. Information on volunteering abroad will also be available.

    For more information, see the Working Abroad Expo website.

    Related article: Destination anywhere

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