The total population of the island of Ireland is only five million - some 800,000 of whom describe themselves as British! - yet there are seventy million people on the planet entitled to call themselves Irish!
This ground-breaking book tells their story. It is based on first-hand research in both North and South American, Africa, the UK, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Apart from contemporary interviews with significant figures from today's diaspora, it also explores how the Great Scattering occurred, through war, famine and dispossession. How a stricken people produced the movers and shakers, the dreamers of dreams who climbed to the world's highest pinnacles of politics and the arts. It does full justice to the horrors which lay behind some of the emigration, but concentrates also on the extraordinary and positive experience of Irish people throughout the world.
Along with the brawlers and battlers, the heroic soldiers, the passionate labour leaders, the American presidents, the Australian Prime Ministers, the founders of Latin American nations and the creators of Riverdance and U2, the Irish gave the world a caring tradition, the missionaries and the teachers who spread a message of a 'dream born in a herdsman's shed and the secret scriptures of the poor.'
Some died by the wayside, some successfully pitched their tents near the stars. All come to live in this vivid historical and contemporary portrait by Ireland's most readable and most trenchant contemporary historian.
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