Exiles: Irish emigrant life in postwar Britain

Book review: Míchéal Ó hAodha has translated Dónall Mac Amhlaigh’s wonderful book with great skill

Dónall Mac Amhlaigh’s original novel, Deoraithe, was published in 1986

Dónall Mac Amhlaigh’s original novel, Deoraithe, was published in 1986

The lost generation that settled in Britain after the second World War is largely forgotten in Ireland. These exiles lack the glamour of the American Irish, and don’t fit into the “rags to riches” tales, so often told about those who crossed the Atlantic. The Irish-English have been left to loiter on the margins of our history.

Yet across almost every sphere of British society – media, education, trade unions, culture, politics, finance and sport – the children and grandchildren of these emigrants have ensured their presence is felt. People of Irish descent have made a vital contribution to the emergence of a multi-ethnic Britain.

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