Hurts from Irish Emigration

I recently read a detailed account of an Irish family’s emigration story. It told of an “American wake”—a farewell, with music, song, and dance, to an Irish person who was emigrating—and the final farewell the morning after. The father could not deal with the heartbreak of his daughter leaving, effectively forever, and was not able to say goodbye. He took himself off in the morning. It was his final gift to his daughter. He wanted to save her, and his wife and his other children, the devastation (he believed) of seeing him showing his pain.

The story gave me an insight into my own approach to discharging. I hold back to save others an imagined worse pain. I wondered if other Irish people, and maybe Irish men in particular, have noticed anything similar. Is this one of the effects of intergenerational hurts? Has so much historical heartbreak as a people left us with a collective grief that’s both hard to bear and hard to share?     

Pascal McCulla 
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion
list for leaders of Irish-heritage people


Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00