Ciara Kenny

The Irish Times forum by and for Irish citizens living overseas,

Christmas homecomings

Emotional reunions at Dublin airport, and reflections on emigration as emigrants make their way home for the holidays

Fiona Conroy from Navan Road (right) with children Lucy and Emma welcome Declan and Orla Carol from Savana Georgia. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Tue, Dec 24, 2013, 12:00

   

We were out in Dublin Airport yesterday to speak to people arriving home for Christmas, and the people waiting for them. Read the interviews in ‘There’s nothing like being at home for Christmas’ and check out the gallery of photographs of emotional reunions.

‘All last weekend and all today, this island breathes in and out. It inhales its own young, the refugees from the great recession flooding back for Christmas. But it also, more quietly, exhales migrants: nurses going back to the Philippines, security men going back to Romania, carpenters going back to Poland.’ Fintan O’Toole’s excellent piece on Christmas homecomings reflects on how mass emigration out of Ireland after the crash and immigration into Ireland prior to it has confused the Irish notion of the meaning of ‘home’.

‘It’s a time of year when many of us, myself included, will welcome diasporic family members home for a brief stay. Perhaps it’s also a good occasion to reflect on the impact of modern emigration on those who leave and those left behind.’ Piaras MacEinri of University College Cork reflects on his year leading the Emigre research project on the impact of  ‘austerity’ emigration on Irish society in recent years.