Why the post ‘Celtic Tiger Cubs’ choose to emigrate


Having made the big move over to NY in summer 2013 Sainsbury, like every other recent emigrant, found differences in the day to day life.

“The largest difference I found was the financial position we come out of University in Ireland. Arriving in New York I began to appreciate how privileged we are in Ireland to get a world class education for a fraction of the cost in America.”

The 21-year-old has experienced no negativity or resentment towards his education from his American counterparts. He also feels that American students take their third level education much more seriously than Irish students.

Overcoming the first hurdles of such a big move are the hardest aspect of the decision to leave one's own country.

Nick added “When I moved over to New York I had no job lined up and minimal experience, being a recent graduate.

“Given how expensive New York is, I knew I had to take the job hunt seriously from day one.”

The best way to tap into the New York industry for the Dublin man was to tap into the extremely active Irish network here in the city.

“I couldn’t believe the response I got to cold emails and how generous those I met were with their time and contacts. It was definitely the difference between success and failure and I look forward to being able to give back to other young graduates taking the leap of faith.”

One thing he does miss about Ireland is his mother’s home cooking. “I can safely say I haven’t been able to replicate it myself and probably never will.”

The young professional network in New York is a force to be reckoned with; the new wave emigrants are not afraid to get ahead and seek out the roles to fit their lifestyles.

Many recent arrivals to New York are the Celtic Tiger cubs that grew up in an Ireland that was flourishing and there was no need to ever think beyond tomorrow. I, myself, was a member of the 'Celtic Tiger Cub' club.

When the economy came crashing down many graduates saw it as time to seek that thrill they had grown up with. For many New York City represents this adreneline rush. While not an easy city to establish oneself as a player, it's certainly worth a shot.

On any given weekend, there is a college reunion as the Irish college community come together in their new surroundings of the Big Apple. "It’s just a bigger playground," was one recent description I overheard of a recent graduate's description of their new life.

Patrick O’Kennedy is a 20-something legal professional who had always dreamed of living in America and decided to move to the city of dreams to discover what he wanted from his life.

“It was by no means an easy decision to leave, but one I felt was the right decision. I had just graduated with a law degree from the University of Limerick, and honestly hadn’t a clue what my next step would be.

“I knew I had a one year window to make the move stateside. My reasoning was that if I got some work experience here in America, it would stand to me in the long run.”

Patrick landed himself in the legal sector working at an immigration law firm owned by Charles Jason Lore. The firm specializes in immigrant and non-immigrant visas. The Donegal native points out that it’s not all plain sailing here in America.

“It was definitely not easy to break into the law field, but it is by no means impossible.

“It all comes down to chance and networking. ‘Networking’ is widespread over here, and there are many Irish networking events that are great for meeting fellow potatoes,” says the 24-year-old.

He says graduates need to be able to put themselves out there as much as possible. His initial preconceived notion of working for an American law firm was something similiar to what he had seen watching the TV show ‘Suits.’

“I imagined working late nights but thankfully this isn’t the case. Of course there is the odd late night, but that is to be expected in any firm.”

Patrick has no regrets about making the move and finds his new life exciting. He doesn’t buy into the perception that some of the American public have of young Irish graduates. There would be a minority of public opinion that think we are moving over here and stealing jobs from American students.

“I don’t see it as a competition between US citizens and the Irish grads. We are contributing to the economy and bringing our own approach to the workplace.”

“It’s all about give and take, and in my opinion cultural diversity is good for every society.”

The new trend of post Celtic Tiger cubs setting up base in America seems set to continue. More and more young graduates are seeing the choice to leave Ireland for a few years as a much more positive thing than the thirty-something age group who are being forced to leave because of negativity equity and rising costs of childcare.

It's highly likely that the thirty-something emigrants will remain emigrants, but the twenty-somethings will return to Ireland in force as the new leaders of Ireland. America is a corporate playing field for young Irish graduates who know a thing about getting ahead in life. Wasn't that the lesson Celtic Tiger Ireland taught the cubs?