Leaving the North

Migration and Memory, Northern Ireland 1921–2011

Johanne Devlin Trew

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ISBN: 9781781385661

Publication: October 11, 2013

Leaving the North is the first book that provides a comprehensive survey of Northern Ireland migration since 1921. Based largely on the personal memories of emigrants who left Northern Ireland from the 1920s to the 2000s, approximately half of whom eventually returned, the book traces their multigenerational experiences of leaving Northern Ireland and adapting to life abroad, with some later returning to a society still mired in conflict. Contextualised by a review of the statistical and policy record, the emigrants’ stories reveal that contrary to its well-worn image as an inward-looking place – 'such narrow ground' – Northern Ireland has a rather dynamic migration history, demonstrating that its people have long been looking outward as well as inward, well connected with the wider world. But how many departed and where did they go? And what of the Northern Ireland Diaspora? How has the view of the ‘troubled’ homeland from abroad, especially among expatriates, contributed to progress along the road to peace? In addressing these questions, the book treats the relationship between migration, sectarianism and conflict, immigration and racism, repatriation and the Peace Process, with particular attention to the experience of Northern Ireland migrants in the two principal receiving societies – Britain and Canada. With the emigration of young people once again on the increase due to the economic downturn, it is perhaps timely to learn from the experiences of the people who have been ‘leaving the North’ over many decades; not only to acknowledge their departure but in the hope that we might better understand the challenges and opportunities that migration and Diaspora can present.

Johanne Devlin Trew is Lecturer in the School of Criminology, Politics and Social Policy at the University of Ulster.

Introduction ‘The truth about stories’: Personal perspectives on Ulster migration Arthur and me The politics of demography Chapter summary Part I: Theory, History and Demography 1: History, memory, migration Diaspora, migration and identity Life Stories and migration research Oral history and Irish migration Oral narrative research in the context of societal conflict Migration, time and generation Memory and emotion in migration research History, memory and postmemory Mechanisms of autobiographical memory Reminiscence bump Structure of life stories 2: Northern Ireland: Migration history and demography Demographic summary Migration and the British Empire Assisted emigration schemes Northern Ireland, migration and Empire Interwar migration, 1920s–1930s Post-war migration, 1940s–1960s Characteristics of migrants, 1920s–1960s Migration, 1970s–2000 Migration since 2001 Refugees and asylum seekers Conclusion: An all-Ulster perspective Part II: Voices of Migration and Return 3: 'They were always missed, they were always mentioned': Migration, generation and family history Memory, migration and generation: Rosina’s story Understanding migration and generation Families, histories, emotions ‘She grieved him all her life’: Narrating migration and loss ‘It was all just land and trees’: Narrating settlement and return ‘It was a culture shock’: Narrating immigration and generation Conclusion 4: ‘Are you Catholic or Protestant?’ Migration, religion and identity Majorities and minorities: ‘Reality very often is not what you would wish it to be’ Majorities and minorities in Northern Ireland The demography of migration and religion Religion, migration and conflict Religion, migration and ‘brain drain’ ‘A big black cloud lifted’: Leaving the North ‘Are you Catholic or Protestant?’ Religion and identity abroad ‘They don’t see Northerners as Irish’: Encounters in ‘diaspora space’ ‘There’s nothing wrong with being British and Irish’: Migration and identity Conclusion 5: ‘Doubly invisible?’ Being Northern Irish in Britain ‘Northern Ireland’s my soul’: Home and identity in Britain The Irish in Britain: Demography and visibility ‘No different than the nineteenth century’: Being a Presbyterian navvy ‘Pagan England’: Family migration to and from Britain ‘Flying the flag’: Doing business in Britain ‘The people with hair left’: Social exclusion in Northern Ireland and Britain ‘Traumatised by being an Irish person in England’: Suffering, silence and victimhood Conclusion 6: ‘A very tolerant country’: Immigration to Canada Brave new world Canada, British and Irish migration ‘Is this what I came to Canada for?' Interwar immigration ‘The horizons go on forever’: Post-war immigration ‘Second class Canadian': 1970s immigration 'Amazing credentials and they don't get work': Immigration since the 1980s 'A very tolerant country’: Life in the ‘peaceable kingdom’ ‘The secret of Canada': Conclusion 7: ‘I’m back where I belong’: Return migration Returning home: ‘I’m back where I belong’ Return migration: Definitions Dream of return: ‘Nobody knows me there’ Failed return: ‘Take your political views and shut up’ No return: ‘Not in my name’ After return: ‘We found we were in trouble with both sides’ Transnational returning: ‘A dream that I would have’ Ultimate return: ‘I don’t want to go home to live, I want to go home to die’ Epilogue: ‘I can’t see myself leaving and I can’t see myself going back’ Postscript The lost generation Notes Bibliography & List of interviews Index

This book by Johanne Devlin Trew is an important contribution to our knowledge and understanding of this particular aspect of migration from the island of Ireland...This relatively untold aspect of the story of movement from Ireland to Britain reveals the complex spatial and temporal dynamics of identifications.
Louise Ryan   Oral History

Johanne Devlin Trew’s recent book on migration from Northern Ireland is that increasingly rare thing in Irish diaspora studies: research that addresses a genuinely glaring gap in the literature. Leaving the North could hardly be more timely. While it is quickly attaining the status of a core text in Irish migration studies, it is to be hoped that it reaches the wider audience it deserves.
Marc Scully   Irish Studies Review

Format: Ebook

ISBN: 9781781385661

Publication: October 11, 2013

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