In recent years, Ireland has experienced a marked increase in emigration. As part of a University College Cork project entitled ‘Current Irish EMIGration and REturn’ (referred to as ‘Emigre’ for short), we aimed to discover why people are emigrating from Ireland today. We also wanted to examine the impact recent emigration was having on the Irish abroad and on the families and communities they have left behind them.

As part of the EMIGRE Project, we have carried out 22 household surveys in a number of rural areas, provincial towns, suburbs and cities across Ireland, visiting 17 counties in the process. Approximately 1,500 Irish people living abroad also filled out our online emigrant survey. As a result, we have built up a large body of statistics that will help us to present an informed picture of recent Irish emigration.

Statistics alone do not, however, tell the full human story. For that reason, we also carried out interviews with emigrants living abroad. We wanted to use emigrants’ own personal histories, alongside our large body of data, to illustrate some of the issues they can encounter when moving to a new country.

Our findings will be released in a lengthy report in late September 2013 that will be made freely available to the public on our website. Several academic articles will also subsequently be published about the results of the project.

This twelve-month project is being carried out at the Department of Geography and the Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21) in University College Cork and is funded by the Irish Research Council.

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