A south Roscommon emigrant

Emigration and return, 1890–1920

Diane Dunnigan

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ISBN: 978-1-84682-058-8
August 2007. 80pp.

Emigrants were a common sight in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Ireland as they left their family farms to make their way to the boat at Queenstown or Liverpool en route to a new, and hopefully more prosperous, life in a strange land. Much is known about these people in aggregate but their individual and local experiences are poorly understood. Even less well understood are the stories of those who later returned from America to their own homes bringing with them money, the latest New York fashions and a different experience of life. This study analyzes the experience of emigration and return through the life of Margaret Brennan of south Roscommon who emigrated to Boston in 1902 and returned home to marry in 1913. Using a unique combination of oral testimonies and documentary evidence this work recreates the experience of Margaret and some of her contemporaries in the different worlds in which they lived.

Diane Dunnigan is a native of San Francisco now living in south Roscommon from where her ancestors emigrated. She specializes in the history of emigration from County Roscommon during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.