Portraits of the Irish Leaving Home - documenting the departure of Irish emigrants


What are you doing? I currently work as a teaching assistant in the International Center of Photography.

Did having to leave come as a shock or was emigration always a possibility for you? I always felt that emigration was a possiblity for me, from quite a young age. The Irish have, of course, been emigrating to Australia and the United States for years. Thankfully, I am emigrating more out of choice rather than being forced. I have always had a passion for traveling, instilled in me by my parents, whose unconventional trips abroad broadened my world-view from a young age. It has come as a major shock to hear recently that 1,000 people per week are emigrating from Ireland. It leaves me with a sense of guilt, somewhat, that I am one of the many skilled graduates/workers leaving our island in a sort of mass exodus.

Will you go back to Ireland? It really all depends on my success in the States. There are certain opportunities to progress in my career in New York that I know I will never encounter in Ireland. But, on the other hand, my roots lie in Ireland and my heart will always remain there. It may be a case that I might not have a choice to stay in America longer than what my visa stipulates, so I must remain aware of that reality. However, if it did come to that I plan to do a world trip, which could see me settling somewhere entirely unexpected. I would like to think that I  (and the thousands of other emigrants) will return to Ireland someday and that the knowledge I have absorbed from my travels will help me to contribute in some way, shape or form, to helping restore the vibrancy and progress of our beloved nation.

For more information, visit Monahan’s blog: thelillipution.blogspot.com