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Irish out-migration

March 2011

The rise of the Irish diaspora

Irish out-migration

Ireland is home to just 4.5 million people, yet over 70 million individuals living worldwide claim Irish ancestry.

In the US alone, 30 million people believe themselves tied to Irish migrant bloodlines.

Ireland has sometimes attracted migrants, too – the country enjoyed a period of major in-migration from eastern Europe between 2004 and 2008.

Thanks to a period of strong economic growth, the "Celtic Tiger" became an attractive destination for young Poles in search of work. But the global credit crunch of 2008 brought this growth to an abrupt end. Ireland's economy has since fallen into crisis and the centuries-old spectre of out-migration has returned.


This article explores the origin, characteristics and consequences of the Irish diaspora. Recent Irish migration trends linked with the global credit crunch are also analysed. The case study can be used or adapted to support:

  • GCSE and AS-level teaching of migration and population change
  • A2 and IB (HL) teaching of global interactions and diaspora growth

In the Members' Area:

  • Exploring the Irish diaspora: the growth of a global community
  • Ireland and the credit crunch: new trends in out-migration
  • AS/A2/IB migration practice essay question
  • References
  • KS3 PowerPoint

Sign in to read the full article. If you are not already a member you can join us as a School Member or Young Geographer and access our vast library of educational articles.


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