Oct 14, 2010

Returning Irish wanted for University Study

IRISH EMIGRANTS who returned to the west coast during the Celtic Tiger years are being sought for a study by the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

The motivation to return, migrants’ experiences of returning and the challenges involved in resettling are among the key issues identified by the research team, led by Christina Noble of the University of Aberdeen’s geography department.

The aim of the research is to develop a “clearer understanding of the social and cultural impact of migration on Ireland and its people over the last 20 years”, Ms Noble said yesterday.

Ms Noble, whose mother is from northwest Kerry, has experience of the issue as her own family emigrated to and returned from North America and England.

“The Celtic Tiger economic boom of the 1990s transformed Ireland from one of Europe’s poorer countries into one of its wealthiest,” she said yesterday, noting this coincided with a “surge in Irish emigrants returning home”.

However, there was little documentation of this, particularly of the experiences of those who moved back to rural communities on the west coast, she noted.

“Interestingly many people did not return to the industrial centres of Dublin and Limerick but chose to establish themselves in more rural areas,” she said.

“This would suggest they were often returning to their birthplace or where their family were located, and were prioritising this in their decision to return over any economic factors,” she noted.

“Their motivation to resettle will be just one of the factors I will explore in the study,” she explained. Her research will also explore whether “the Ireland they recalled from memory” had changed in reality, along with people’s experiences of fitting back into the local community.

Those interested in volunteering for the study should contact Ms Noble by e-mail (christina.noble@abdn.ac.uk)

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