It was always the way that those who emigrated looked after those that stayed.
Throughout the 1900’s the Irish boarded ships, planes, trains and bicycles as they started their journeys across the seas to begin their new lives abroad. Villages, towns and parishes mourned the loss of their brothers and sisters who were forced to flee and begin a new life in a new country. As they mourned the loss to the community they congratulated the emigrant on having the gumption and opportunity to start anew. They left their native homes often with nothing, their families rallied round the days before they left to ensure that Michael or Mary had a suit of clothes and good shoes for their new start in London, Boston or New York. The efforts were rewarded three-fold when as soon as Michael or Mary got a start and weeks wages under their belt, many would start to send some money home, to help their parents out with the children that were left, the ones that were too young to leave. A few dollars here, a letter and a few pounds there, all helped to ease the hardship of those left at home. As the Irish abroad worked hard and saved hard to set the foundation for their new lives, many lived in humble flats having little or no life outside of work. As they built their lives and possibly even got married and had children, the few dollars would be replaced by large parcels. Inside were essentials like clothes and shoes which were greatly welcomed by their now almost grown siblings. Years would pass before the emigrant would return and when Michael or Mary stepped off in Shannon for two weeks back on their native soil, their family would rejoice. Their brothers and sisters would look at them coyly, maybe not quite remembering their sister fully, now in awe of this worldly figure in their midst who made the journey from Manchester to Shannon single handedly. Michael would spend more hard earned cash before leaving his parents for another few years, but the new furniture for his mother and farm machinery he bought for his father would see him go back happy that he was doing his duty as the eldest.
Well, the tides of emigration have changed and so too has the caliber of emigrant. Like rats from a sinking ship thousands leave Ireland these days and with only their Ralph Lauren cardigans on their backs and a Samsonite case full of high street fashion their leave their marble clad conservatories and granite worktop kitchens for new lives in Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore. As the Beemer was lifted on Ross a few weeks ago, Grainne has to ask her Mam to drop them to the airport. They arrive in Dubai and take ages to find the right property, no matter what, Ross needs a den for his 52”. Grainne holds off on getting a job for a while, to enjoy the sun and the pool, and pleads with her Mom to come for a holiday. Poor old Kitty, spends what she has saved from her pension for the flight to Dubai and hasn’t stepped off the plane with Ross and Grainne announce that they’re going on a minibreak to Phuket and would she mind minding the kids for a couple of nights. Gra hasn’t had a break since they left Foxrock six month ago.
Oh and, the packages. Kitty arrives with almost everything that was on Grainne’s request list, Taytos, Cheese and Onion and Salt and Vinegar, Barry’s Tea, Emerald Sweets, Chivers Jelly (Ross loves jelly), Kids clothes from Dunnes, diamonte flip flops from Penneys and a copy of the Echo. She forgot the VIP magazine but promises to post it over as soon as she gets back. Kitty arrives back in Ireland, with a bulging credit card and a request to have the spare room ready for Gra’s summer visit with the kids where Gra paid extra to Ethiad for a drive to the airport in Dubai but Mam will pick her up the other side. Gra arrives home for eight weeks of respite from her sentence in Arabian Ranches, laden down with 22ct gold and fake Louis Vuitton, she looks forward to the served up hot meals but finds the spare room a bit small however she is willing to put up with it as it’s her duty to her folks.