Over 76,000 people left Ireland last year, more than 40,000 of which were Irish born citizensGoogle Images

A County Clare village is close to extinction as the reality of emigration hits home in rural Ireland.

A new report says that 87 people have emigrated from the parish of Kilmihil in the last two years alone.

A survey of all homes in the area has found that the majority of the emigrants are aged between 20 and 30.

Over half of them have emigrated to America, with the Australia and Britain named as, other popular destinations.

Community leader Gerry Johnston conducted the survey after observing the dwindling number of players in Kilmihil GAA club.

The senior Kilmihil team has lost eight of its senior championship footballers from the 2010 and 2011 seasons to emigration.

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Johnston told the Irish Times: “Kilmihil is missing a generation. The life has gone out of the village.
 
“The life has been sucked out of the place. These were the people with disposable income, and shops and pubs will tell you what impact the young people leaving has had.

“There are so many people from Kilmihil in Australia that they are going to form a Kilmihil GAA club out there.

“They are going to form a sub-committee of Kilmihil GAA and help with things financially back here, because medical expenses, lights for the field have to be paid for.

“They love to hear stories from home. They all want to be here, but unfortunately they will only be coming home for holidays, weddings and funerals.”