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Espaces et échanges, how the various waves of migration and the periods of boom and bust in Ireland have given rise to different forms of economic, social and cultural exchange.

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Par   •  30 Novembre 2017  •  Thèse  •  771 Mots (4 Pages)  •  887 Vues

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  • A space is a geographical limited area where interactions happen whether between a space and another or between individuals in a same space. An exchange is the act of giving or receiving something in substitution for something else. We are going to show how the various waves of migration and the periods of boom and bust in Ireland have given rise to different forms of economic, social and cultural exchange.


The Great Famine was a watershed in Ireland’s history. This Hunger spend from 1845 to 1852 and it’s proximate reason was a potato disease commonly known as potato blight, composed of a fungus named “phytophthora” that caused the potato to turn black and decay quickly. They tried to grow the potatoes but it was to no avail since the infections disease was already rampant and it ravaged the entire crops leading to a mass starvation knowing that potato is the staple food of Irish citizens. Fortunate citizens were the ones that were able to gather money needed by selling whatever they had, to live comfortably. Yet deprived tenants were evicted from their homes, as they could no longer pay the rent therefore they found themselves homeless overnight and had no choice but to emigrate to fight for survival and a better living conditions and some landlords helped their tenants as act of generosity and charity. Emigrants travelled towards Canada, England, Scotland, Australia or USA on ships that were called “coffin ships” since they where filled with dead innocent bodies.

There were two ways to travel, standard class, where better sustaining conditions were offered such as access to decks, berths, water so a better hygiene, and very few could afford it. While steerage passenger’s travelling conditions were dreadfully appalling, they lived below deck, women and children of all ages huddled together without light without air, weltering in filth and breathing a fetid atmosphere dispirited in heart, bereft of hope, forlorn of dignity and dying without the voice of spiritual consolation, and buried in the deep without the rites of the Church. Moreover, the agonized ravings of the ill were disturbing those around and thugs were ruffianly preying upon the weakest. Water was scarce and food was ill selected. Most of those who were left behind died.

However, surviving the voyage was not the end of the hardship for famine emigrants. In fact, for most, it was just the beginning of a new chapter of desolation. A great number of these emigrants had never previously ventured outside their own local areas suddenly they found themselves transported thousands of miles away, from a rural to urban landscape, to a very alien social environment where the inhabitants didn’t speak the same language and, frequently, showed a deep loathing for their Irishness and their Catholicism. This was bewildering and devastating to them. Many famine emigrants were overwhelmed by their new surroundings and became easy prey for exploitation. Grinding poverty, unemployment or backbreaking, dangerous work for little pay, they struggled to improve their circumstances.

Axe 2:

After 150 year of population decline as native Irish fled dire economic conditions, Ireland is now one of Europe’s fastest growing and most prosperous nations. The white-hot “Celtic Tiger” economy of recent years has leveled off, but Ireland continues to be a magnet for immigrants.

The terrifying period was not that long, but it had sever repercussion that are still apparent today but not as violent, in fact the Celtic Tiger was able to find its feet. For Ireland had a number of engines of growth that pulled it through the difficulties, mostly its approach to lower corporate taxes in addition to flexibility in the workforce and the fact that it’s an English country placed in the Eurozone. The country became an attraction for investors. Celtic Tiger also known as the big boom, the best time to hear it roar is at night, as the newly moneyed hordes converge on clubs, lounges and hotel lobby bars to feed it. Ireland is struggling to integrate hundreds of thousands of new immigrants and to provide them with education, health, welfare and transportation services as fast as they arrive. The nation’s population reached over 4.1 million, its highest level since before the famine years of the mid-19th century. In such way, its economy was booming, fueled by mass consummation that loved the unemployment, besides the government was hailed as the poster child for EU-IMF backed austerity as Ireland hit its spending cut targets. However, this dream was short lived because in 2008, economic bust resulted. In a crash in poverty prices, soaring unemployment and the return of something the Irish dread the must: emigration.  


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