Emigrants and exiles — Stories from East Galway, Ireland

The virtual conference, Emigrants and Exiles, the East Galway Story, was held Saturday to mark Ireland’s National Famine Commemoration Day — and the entire six-hour event is available to watch on YouTube.

A range of speakers, composed of descendants and academics, gathered virtually across the diaspora to share their stories and the stories of their communities.

Orphan girls shipped to Australia whose lives intertwine with Ned Kelly and his gang, families emigrating to the US due to evictions settling first near eastern cities and then heading west to rural farms, young couples setting up home in railway hubs close to neighbours from near the home parish, young women settling far from family in Canada, young men who ended up as soldiers during the US Civil War and brought that experience to the fight for independence at home.Among their descendants are nurses, teachers, doctors, farmers, business owners, blue and white collar workers, and a US president.

During the video, Dr. Christine Kinealy (Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University), Dr Ciarán Reilly (historian of 19th & 20th century Irish history at Maynooth University), John Herson (Visiting Research Fellow in History – ‎Liverpool John Moores) look at the historical context the evictions which caused many to flee, the communities in England where many found refuge either as a stepping stone to emigration to the US or as their permanent home, their continued connection with home through financial and political support in later times.

Noeleen Lloyd, Pam Neary, Patricia Greber, and Erica Veil recount the stories of their ancestors, how they arrived in Australia, Canada or the US and how their lives impacted their new community. Jennifer Wilt looks at the impact on one West Virginia county of Irish settlement in the 1850s and 60s brought about by railroad employment, while Andrew Martin talks about how to research using the Irish newspapers of the era to understand the social and political happenings.

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Posted On: May 18, 2021 at 06:07AM