|Irish emigrants arriving to Ellis Island, New York|
There has always been some degree of emigration from Ireland but the numbers rose dramatically during and after the famine of the 1840’s.
Some people emigrate because their education and qualifications make it possible for them to have a better life in other countries. The Irish have less spending money per person than any other EC country. Some want to escape from a conservative intellectual and social climate.
More information: University College Cork
Most people emigrate reluctantly, however, because they cannot find employment in Ireland. Even with about 40,000 people emigrating every year from a total population of 3.5 million, almost one in five of the workforce remains unemployed.
When other countries were going through the Industrial Revolution, developing urban centres which could provide employment for thousands, the Irish economy was almost entirely agricultural. Ireland entered the twentieth century with just a handful of industries.
The Government tries to attract foreign industry and develop local existing industries but there doesn’t appear to be any immediate prospect of a solution to the problem.
Source: Why do the Irish? by Fiana Griffin
I know so many Irish musicians. They're all over, because there has been so much emigration from Ireland. Like the Jews.