Before the ‘Ryanair Generation’, leaving home was for good.
Half a million Irish men and women left these shores in the nineteen-fifties, forced by decades of economic stagnation to make their lives elsewhere. For many of these emigrants, mostly young and unskilled, Britain was their only hope of survival.
Abandoned by the Irish state, this forgotten generation went in search of employment and security, the dignity of a future that was denied them at home. For many of these youthful emigrants, exile held the promise of adventure and excitement, freedom from the oppressions of De Valera’s Ireland.
Yet no two emigrant experiences were the same. In a series of compelling interviews, ‘honest, angry, and funny’, these vibrant voices reflect the diversity of lives lived away from the homeland, an unconsidered people’s struggle to plant new lives in an alien soil.