“It’s a long way from Clare to here
It’s a long, long way, it grows further by the day”
Emigration has always been a bittersweet subject for our tiny island with many songs, poems and laments idolising and imortalising home. It is an especially apt topic for the times we face today with a new generation spreading their wings, often times for pleasure but increasingly for economic survival.
Those left behind groan and complain – our inept government, bleak weather, nosey neighbors and yet our diaspora celebrates – lush countryside, caring communities, enchanting music & culture and a longing to be here. Sometimes it seems the famous Irish pride is most personified by those living abroad and of Irish descent. We forget that the saying ‘far away fields are greener’ is quite ironic when uttered here, surrounded as we are by every shade of the hue in its most natural form. The really funny thing, is that most of us have experienced this pride of home – when we are abroad – any Irish pub on All Ireland Final day, doing the jump two, threes really badly to Riverdance and tracking down Barrys tea and Curly Wurly’s as if there was no other sustinance available to man.
The influence of the Irish worldwide is phenomenal and never more so than on the 17th of March every year when the festival of our humble St. Patrick closes down the most influential city in the world – New York. American Irish in particular are wonderfully unashamed of their Irish heritage, embracing fragments of their ancestory to claim ‘I’m Irish!’ often despite never having set foot on Irish soil. Where would we be without our wonderful diaspora to remind us that – despite current relative hardships – just how lucky we are, to be where we are.