|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
"Our Diaspora includes people as diverse as a third-generation Irish-American steelworker in Pittsburgh; a Dublin-born financial expert working in Hong Kong; an Irish-Australian family in Perth; a Galway-born pensioner in North London; a young Cork-born designer in Paris, and a fifth-generation Irish-Argentinian or Newfoundlander whose lilting Irish brogue is remarkably strong for someone who has never set foot on Irish soil and proof positive of the longevity of the Irish imprint."—President Mary McAleese
About 6 million people live on the island of Ireland, yet worldwide at least 10 times that number claim Irish ancestry (35 million in the United States alone), one of the few diasporas demonstrably much larger than the home population (the other big ones being the Jewish, Armenian, Lebanese, and Palestinian). Thanks to over a century of poverty and lack of opportunities at home, the Irish can be found just about anywhere.
Irish people (in Ireland) have a mixed but mostly affectionate relationship with diaspora, especially the American part of it. Including claiming the current president as one of us.
A great deal of fiction has been created which deals with relations between the diaspora and Ireland the most famous of which might be the John Wayne film The Quiet Man: not only is Wayne's character himself an American 'returning' to Ireland but it was made by Irish-American John Ford as something of a love letter towards his parents home country.
On the other hand there's the film version of The Field, in which an American returns to Ireland to buy the eponymous field. The man renting the field, which he has turned from a barren patch of dirt to a lush expanse of green, sees the American as a traitor who abandoned the country when times got tough, and has now returned to pave over everything the faithful Irish have worked for.