Michael O'Donohue's story
If you will allow me, I would like to reply in a indirect way to this snippet. My story is all about a family returning 'home' (as the Irish say) two generations later.
My father was a Wexfordman, born in Dunmain. He left Ireland twice. First, on a short trial run in England, then second for good. Like many Irishmen in the late 1940s, he started off as a labourer, helping to rebuild London after the Blitz. Afterwards, he moved around building sites until he finished by settling in the Midlands in the early 1950s with his newly wed, English wife....my mother.
My childhood was gently influenced by Irishness, but the family wasn't an active part of the emigrant Irish community. Nevertheless, trips back 'home' to Wexford were moments of excitement, mixed with an impression of slighly exotic, otherwordly place. Strange road signs, car number plates, Aunties and Uncles that I couldn't understand, life on the farm and so forth. Back in England, we were brought up to support Ireland's football and rugby teams and went to a Roman Catholic school with a whole bunch of kids 'like us' (i.e. children of Irish parents).
I finished up leaving England at the age of 25, with lots of expectations and no regrets. As a second generation emigrant, I settled in France and had children of my own, with my French wife. Now and again we have travelled to Ireland over the years and discovered all those places (Counties Cork, Clare, Donegal, Dublin etc) that I never visited when I was a child. As a child, Ireland was strictly limited to Wexford and never ending family visits.
As my eldest son grew up, I realized with a shock that his ambition as an adult was to return 'home'. Studies in Trinity College Dublin and a contract with a company was all that was required for him to go back to his roots. He has now lived in Ireland for nearly 4 years, speaks English with a nice Irish accent and gives the impression that the wanderings of his father and grandfather are simply a parenthesis in a long family history of Irishness