‘Come back, Paddy Reilly’
Aspects of Irish return migration, 1600–1845
in Emigrant homecomings
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By 1914, when the popular song 'Come back, Paddy Reilly, to Ballyjamesduff' was written and composed by Percy French, return migration had long been a significant theme within the Irish diaspora. This chapter casts a backward eye over almost 300 years preceding the era of Percy French in order to evaluate the under-explored phenomenon of return migration to Ireland. It explores a neglected area of Irish migration studies, namely the phenomenon of return migration to Ireland in the two and a half centuries prior to the Great Famine. Seventeenth-century Ireland is generally perceived as a society characterized by mass immigration, or plantation, as it is more popularly framed. Professor Mark Wyman has highlighted the sporadic evidence which suggests that return migration was a feature of European settlement in the New World from at least the seventeenth century.

Emigrant homecomings

The return movement of emigrants, 1600–2000

Editor: Marjory Harper

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