Ireland is a land with a deep history of emigration as people fled hunger and poverty in search of a better life elsewhere. There are many times more people with Irish heritage outside of Ireland than actually live there, and with the economic difficulties of recent years, there’s been a new surge in the number of people leaving for distant shores.
Given this legacy, it should be no surprise that the Irish have developed customs to reflect their history. One such tradition is a wake, not for the dead, but rather for someone leaving the country. In past generations this was often a one way trip, and even today it’s common to ask the diaspora who’ve returned to Ireland, even after several generations, “How long are you home for?”
The Irish people who left have developed strong communities and organisations around the world, with their culture and heritage being passed from generation to generation. There’s no better way to connect to your Irish ancestry than a visit to the Emerald Isle itself.
The Internet and Your Irish Identity
The internet has revolutionised the ways in which the Irish diaspora can connect to their heritage, friends, and family back home regardless of national boundaries and the other hurdles which prevented easy communication in the past.
Irish interest sites, blogs, and Facebook groups attest to the strong connection between the diaspora and those back in Ireland, and there are numerous online resources designed to help you uncover your Irish ancestry.
The National Archives’ website includes links to full census records for 1901 and 1911, as well as records of Soldiers’ Wills, and other surviving records pre-1901. When you travel to Ireland, you can also visit the National Library on Kildare Street in Dublin, where personal genealogy sessions with an expert can be arranged for free.
Finally, The Wild Geese is an organisation which highlights news and information of particular interest to the Irish ‘wild geese’ across the globe. The group takes its name from the Treaty of Limerick in 1691, when Irish soldiers fleeing for France were labelled ‘wild geese’. It’s very much a community driver site where you can discuss blog posts and images, the more you invest into the site the bigger the return.
Celebrating Your Irish Ancestry
If you have ancestors, you now have the chance to show the world thanks to Certificates of Irish Heritage, which are available from heritagecertificate.com. These celebrations of your connection to Ireland are available on numerous backgrounds and are published by the Irish Government. The site also has a comprehensive list of heritage resources.
You can also celebrate your connection to the Emerald Isle by visiting its world famous attractions such as the Cliffs of Moher, the Blarney Stone, and the Giant’s Causeway on an (almost) as famous Paddywagon tour. Our tours depart daily from Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Belfast and will take you to see some of the country’s most spectacular attractions.