The latest figures for the 12 months to April 2010 show that about 65,300 people (about half of whom were Irish citizens) left Ireland over the last year. It's the highest rate of emigration from the Republic since 1989.

But unlike the previous periods of mass emigrations from Ireland in the 1950's and 1980's, this time those leaving are slightly older and vastly better qualified, armed with sough after skills and university degrees.

Ireland's new generation of emigrants are bound for worldwide jobs in IT, law and the financial sectors, but no longer on construction sites.

Mary Corcoran, a sociology professor at the National University of Ireland, told the press that new Irish emigrants are also less likely than previous generations to eventually return home.

"It's actually much easier now for people to maintain that psychological connection with home and their communities‚ they'll use Skype and Facebook in a way that's not been possible in the past," Corcoran  told the press.

Important national events like finals Gaelic football and hurling finals, soccer and rugby are now screened around the world on satellite TV, she said.