The Curse of Emigration

Rakshitha bhat, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
(Rakshitha bhat, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

We've all heard of "The Curse of Emigration" but does it really exist? As an Emigrant the Bantering Barman has his own opinion on this. Is it real or mythology?

As a small island nation Ireland has certainly had its share of emigration. There are many reasons for emigration but quite frankly they can be summed up into two reasons. Love or money. By money we mean the chance to do better or prosper. And Love.... well I'm sure you can figure that out yourselves.

In days of yore emigration certainly was a curse. It was brought about by oppression, famine and many other such things. While you could stay, what was there to stay for? Large families, splitting farms, lack of of food and very little work except for what the landlords and occupiers gave you. There wasn't much to do but emigrate. Lack of education meant that the Irish went off and took whatever work they could get. When they left it was almost like a death sentence as there was little chance of every returning home. The only form of communication was through letters, which from America took about six weeks each way. Finding out that a loved one had passed six weeks or longer after it happened. That truly was a curse.

Things have changed it seems. People are not emigrating anymore because of oppression or famine. Our emigrants are no longer uneducated. They are not leaving to be navvies, ditch diggers or soldiers in foreign Armies. But just like before the choice is not great. Our small nation cannot support all of our youth. We don't need all of the doctors, nurses, lawyers or teachers we produce. We do still build the canals and tunnels but as engineers and highly skilled machine operators. We are still the tradesmen buy way more skilled. We use our skills to prosper in ways we could not at home.

Communication has certainly changed just like transport. We no longer leave on a boat that takes weeks but by planes that take hours. We can email if we're into writing and it's delivered in minutes. Or we can can be more instantaneous and call. We can even video call and see our loved ones as we talk.

Yet there are times especially since Covid that we can not be home. While we can skype and video call we still miss many holidays and special occasions., but unlike the old days we can get a little participation.

I believe "The Curse of Emigration" still exists but it's a very watered down version of those of the generations before us. 


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